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Tacloban folk want ships in their midst out

The cargo ship MV Ligaya sits in the middle of the road in Barangay 69 in Anibong District, Tacloban City, after it was swept inland by storm surges brought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” last November 8. (Raffy Lerma/Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Publication Date : 19-02-2014

 

In two coastal villages here, residents wake up every day to what could be monumental reminders of the tragedy that Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) wrought upon them last November 8—cargo ships that storm surges swept inland and are still stuck in the middle of the once-thriving communities more than 100 days after the storm struck.

Residents of the two villages—Barangay 69 and Barangay 70—are asking the city government for help to have the ships removed.

Two families, in particular, are vocal about how the ships serve as constant reminders of the death and destruction that Yolanda unleashed in their communities and of how far from normal their lives have been ever since.

“Our life here remains to be far from normal,” said Eduardo Cadizal, 39, a resident of Barangay (village) 70, where the cargo ship MV LCT Roseman was swept by waves whipped by Yolanda.

“The two ships only give us a reminder of what we went through during the storm,” Cadizal said. “We believe there are bodies underneath them,” he said.

“We are asking our [city] government to help us remove these ships. We cannot get over the trauma that we have suffered if these ships will still be in our barangay,” said Roland Acosta, 37, and a resident of Barangay 69, another village where the storm surge dumped another ship, MV Ligaya.

The families of Acosta and Cadizal live in huts built from scrap materials after they lost their homes at the height of Yolanda.
Cadizal’s house had been destroyed when MV LCT Roseman was swept inland and raked the community.

Cadizal said he and his family were lucky they were not in their house anymore when MV LCT Roseman slammed into it and other houses in the village.

Acosta’s house was also destroyed during the storm surge while he and his family were in a village hall where they sought refuge.

Their sentiments over the presence of the ships reflect those of other residents in the two villages who are pushing for the removal of the ships.

MV Ligaya is loaded with steel bars while MV LCT Roseman is carrying bags of cement when they were swept inland.

The villages of 69 and 70 here are among the areas in the city with the highest death tolls from the storm.

In Barangay 70, residents said at least 256 persons were dead and nearly the same number were missing.

Before Yolanda, Barangay 70 had 790 residents, and Barangay 69 had a population of more than 1,000.

Frederick Anido, city disaster risk reduction management council officer, said the city government had asked the ship owners to remove the vessels from the two villages.

Anido, in a phone interview, said the owners planned to remove the ships piece by piece and turn them into scrap metal.

Anido said the city government shared the sentiments of the people of the two coastal villages regarding the ships.

MV Ligaya is owned by the Avega Brothers Integrated Shipping Corp. while MV LCT Roseman is owned by Richmund Ng.

The Coast Guard station here said it had also asked the ship owners to have their vessels removed.

But Lt. (j.g.) Paul Gonzales, Coast Guard Tacloban station chief, said removing the ships would take time.

The Coast Guard had set February 15 as deadline for the ships’ removal, but this apparently has not been met.

Aside from MV LCT Roseman and MV Ligaya, other ships that were swept inland in the city were MV Lancer, MV Tom Elegance, MV Eva Jocelyn, MV Star Hilongos, MV Gayle, MV David, MV RKK Uno and a dredger owned by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

 

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