SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 15, 2013

Mass burial held in Philippine city

TACLOBAN, Philippines — The air was thick with the stench of decay as sweating workers lowered the plastic coffins one by one into a grave the size of an Olympic swimming pool.

Scores of unidentified bodies were interred together yesterday in a hillside cemetery without any ritual — the first mass burial in this city shattered by last week’s Typhoon Haiyan.

Six days after the disaster, some progress was being made in providing food, water and medical aid to the half-million people displaced in the Philippines. Massive bottlenecks blocking the distribution of international assistance have begun to clear.

Soldiers on trucks gave out rice and water, and chainsaw-wielding teams cut debris from blocked roads to clear the way for relief trucks in Tacloban, the capital of the hardest-hit Leyte province.

Thousands of people continued to swarm Tacloban’s damaged airport, desperate to leave or to get treatment at a makeshift medical center.

“We know the gravity of our countrymen’s suffering, and we know that, now more than ever, all of us are called on to do whatever we can to help alleviate our countrymen’s suffering,” President Benigno S. Aquino III said in a statement.

Authorities say 2,357 people have been confirmed dead, a figure that is expected to rise, perhaps significantly, when information is collected from other areas of the disaster zone.

With sweat rolling down their faces, John Cajipe, 31, and three teenage boys who work at the Tacloban cemetery placed the first body in the grave’s right-hand corner.

The second body followed two minutes later, carefully placed alongside the first. And so on, until scores of coffins filled the 6-foot (2-meter) deep grave. A ritual to sprinkle holy water on the site is expected to be held today, one week after the typhoon struck.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Baker(1) GOP's Baker to unveil plan to fight drug addiction

    BOSTON (AP) — Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker has unveiled what he's calling a comprehensive approach to tackling the drug addiction crisis in Massachusetts.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140730_SN_DLE_DEMOLITION5 Demolition of Salem Harbor Station begins

    SALEM -- It all begins with B5. Or ends, depending on how you look at it. Demolition began at Salem Harbor Station Wednesday afternoon, with crews first setting upon one of the power plant's 11 steel tanks. The work was supposed to begin Monday, but

    July 31, 2014 7 Photos

  • Market Basket seeks replacement workers through job fair next week

    Market Basket began advertising a job fair for store managers and assistant managers in a direct shot at the current managers who signed petitions Monday threatening to resign if former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is not rehired. The ad, which will appear

    July 31, 2014 2 Stories

  • Mary Manning Recovering Salem principal says thanks

    SALEM -- Just about a month before she was set to retire after 25 years as the principal of Collins Middle School, Mary Manning entered the hospital with a life-threatening condition. She hasn't been home since. A month later, in June, friends and co

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Former school janitor Robert Scribner sentenced for assaults in truck

    SALEM -- A now-former Marblehead school janitor was ordered to serve a year in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges that he assaulted and threatened to kill his estranged girlfriend after trapping her in his pickup truck in May. Robert Scr

    July 31, 2014