A resident gets water from a hose along a road blocked by debris, brought at the height of super typhoon Haiyan in Palo, Leyte province in central Philippines November 12, 2013.
(Photo : REUTERS/Erik De Castro)
On Thursday, hundreds of unidentified bodies were buried one-by-one inside of a huge ceremony without any ritual during the first mass burial since Super Typhoon Haiyan caused havoc on the central islands of the Philippines.
Scores of plastic coffins were dumped into the 6-foot deep grave while a ritual to sprinkle holy water on the site is expected to be held Friday, reports The Weather Channel. The National Bureau of Investigation removed a portion of the femur from each corpse so that technicians can extract DNA and try to identify the dead, said Joseph David.
So far 4,460 deaths have been confirmed in the storm's aftermath and the figure is still expected to rise, according to The Weather Channel.
"I hope this is the last time I see something like this," said Mayor Alfred Romualdez. "When I look at this, it just reminds me of what has happened from the day the storm hit until today."
On Thursday, soldiers continued to give out rice and water, and clear roads blocked by debris in Tacloban, the capital of the hardest-hit Leyte province.
"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.
The USS George Washington arrived in the Philippine Sea near the Gulf of Leyte on Thursday to assess the damage and provide medical and water supplies, the 7th Fleet said in a statement.
After touring Tacloban Wednesday, Valerie Amos, the U.N. humanitarian chief, said about 11.5 million people have been affected by the typhoon, which includes those who lost loved ones, were injured, or suffered damage to their homes or livelihoods.
The deputy mayor of Tacloban, the Philippine city where thousands are thought to have died in during the storm, has issued a plea for armed Communist rebels to avoid stoking violence and help the government with the reconstruction effort.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Jerry Sambo Jaokasin conceded he was worried about the apparently deteriorating security situation in Tacloban and called on members of the New People's Army to work with the government, not against it.
"My message is that to rebuild this city we have to work together. Armed conflict will never solve the problem of hunger and empty stomachs," he said.