PHILIPPINES - Like Tacloban City in Leyte across the San Juanico Strait, Basey town in Samar province bore the brunt of Supertyphoon "Yolanda" but has yet to receive attention from the national government, a provincial official said on Tuesday.
At least 434 people died in Basey during the typhoon's onslaught on Friday, said Christine Caidic of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC).
Nearly all of them were unidentified but had to be buried in mass graves in their villages because the bodies had started to smell, she said.
"We are appealing for help. We feel the national government has neglected us," Caidic, who is also the provincial information officer, told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
Yolanda nearly obliterated the town (population: 50,423), a popular tourist destination for its spectacular cathedral-like caves and underground rivers in the Sohoton National Park in Rawis, Barangay (village) Guirang.
95 per cent wiped out
"An initial assessment of our team there is that 95 per cent of the properties and structures in Basey were wiped out," Caidic said.
Only 42 of the fatalities were identified but were also buried in the mass graves in the villages of Baybay, Palaypay, Lawa-an, Loyo, Bacubac, Sulod and Cogon, she said.
Marabut, a neighbouring town (population: 15,115) was also devastated, but provincial officials have yet to establish the number of fatalities. Rescuers were still clearing the roads leading to the fifth-class municipality.
Initial reports said 12 people were missing, Caidic said.