Close to 2,000 bodies recovered in Philippines

MANILA - Nearly 2,000 bodies have been recovered by Task Force Cadaver Retrieval in Tacloban City as more remains are being pulled out from the rubble in typhoon-devastated Eastern Visayas.

Fire Senior Superintendent Pablito Cordeta of the Bureau of Fire Protection and the commander of the joint retrieval task force, said that as of Tuesday, a total of 1,989 bodies have been retrieved in Tacloban City, following the recovery of 57 more cadavers on Monday.

Of the total figure, however, only 245 have been identified by authorities.

About 60 per cent of the 138 villages of Tacloban have been scoured by 500-strong team, Cordeta said.

As operations resume Tuesday, he said team members would return to the villages of Anibong, Magallanes, Payapay, Alimasag.

A foot patrol has also been created to go around the city by foot and gather more information on possible places where bodies have remained uncollected, he said.

"These are members of the Task Force Cadaver who are just walking [and they are instructed to] use their senses," he said.

"With these senses, we make sure that no cadaver will be left uncollected," the task force chief added.

Cordeta said the team is also being helped by sniffing dogs.

Tacloban City is one of the areas hardest hit by Supertyphoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) when it slammed into the central Philippines earlier this month, killing 5,240 people, according to the latest report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.