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Filipinos struggle after typhoon Bopha

12-14-2012 14:54 BJT

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The death toll from Typhoon Bopha in the Southern Philippines has risen to more than 900, with almost the same number still missing. That includes more than 350 fishermen. But amidst the desperation are amazing stories of survival. Our correspondent Barnaby Lo met three fishermen who were rescued after drifting for 9 days at sea.

Just a few days ago, Rodel, Bobby, and Dante couldn’t have thought they’d be standing here, staring at the ocean It was a miracle, they say, that they’d survive 9 days at sea after Typhoon Bopha unleashed its wrath while they’d been fishing in the Pacific Ocean.

The death toll from Typhoon Bopha in the Southern Philippines has risen to more than 900, with
almost the same number still missing.

Typhoon survivor Dante Barcena said, “The wind was so strong I felt the skin on my face getting stretched. And if you just raise your hand like this, you’re really going to get blown away.”

Which is exactly what happened to them and 15 other crew members. Six hours later, when the storm had passed, Bobby and Dante found themselves hanging on to whatever’s left of their boat, with Bobby losing half a finger. Rodel hung on to a pole a friend dying in his arms. Everyone else was gone.

Typhoon survivor Rodel Mendoza said, “I was hungry, I was thirsty, and I was in so much pain but all I could think of was that I had to survive. Once I was able to reach a pole on the fishing ground though, I knew I had a fighting chance.”

Fellow tuna fishers did find him, Bobby, and Dante eventually barely alive but alive. Many others may not nearly be as lucky.

Reporter: “More than 300 fishermen from this area are still unaccounted for, and that number is still rising with more and more fishermen reported missing. The government says it will keep searching, but the chances of being able to find anyone alive at this point may be about as little as a drop in the ocean.”

But families of missing fishermen aren’t giving up just yet. Just as I was interviewing these women, a text message came in Apparently, 296 Filipino fishermen had been rescued off the island of Palau. So we walked over to the search and rescue operations center to confirm the information. But the city’s mayor, Darlene Custodio, emerged with bad news.

There is no Filipino fisherman in Palau. Another setback but these women say they’ll keep coming back here, hoping that their husbands would turn up one day telling their own stories of survival.



Editor:Zhang Rui |Source:

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