MANILA, Philippines – Stomach-churning sight and smell of hundreds of decomposing bodies, dogs that ate the remains of people, villages and houses blown away like paper, groaning and moaning of bereaved mothers, fathers, and children who wished they were dead.
Memories of disasters as violent as Yolanda are hard to forget. Now, more than three years after the devastation caused by the November 2013 super typhoon, another ghastly recollection of nature’s wrath haunts Leyte residents.
“Bigla na lang lumindol…mahina lang, tapos nag-vibrate, malakas na ‘yon. Di na namin alam kung ano’ng gagawin namin…Akala ko katapusan ko na kahapon,” said Leodegario Donaire, who was among those inside the three-story Queda Building in Brgy. Poblacion, Kananga, Leyte that collapsed when the magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit the area on Thursday.
[An earthquake suddenly occurred…it was just a weak one at first and then it vibrated and the tremor became strong. We didn’t know what to do…I thought it was already my end yesterday.]
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology on Thursday initially placed the temblor’s severity at Intensity 5 in Kananga and Ormoc City. But after it received reports about the extent of the destruction in the two areas, Philvocs raised the intensity to 7.
Donaire and his companions were able to get out of the felled building by crawling through a hole as dust from falling objects clouded their sight.
An adrenaline rush gave him a great deal of strength and numbed him from pain. It was only when Donaire finally emerged from the ruins that his senses told him that he had bruises and wounds all over his body.
But 40-year-old Gerry Movilla wasn’t as lucky. He died when the quake buried Queda Building’s foundation.
In Sitio Libo, also in Kananga, the tremor almost lifted the roads off the ground and cracked concrete streets as if these were brittle eggshells.
In Ormoc, the local government’s command center reported that 150 were injured from the quake, which killed 19-year-old Rhissa Robles when she was hit by falling hollow blocks.
The tremor also destroyed many houses in the city — some were flattened like packs of cards, while others were buried under tons of mud and debris.
It also caused rockslides and cracked roads that made some villages in Ormoc inaccessible.
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