Search for loved ones continues in storm-battered Cagayan de Oro

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/21 December) — When she saw reporters coming to her house in Sitio Cala-cala, 57-year-old Corazon Daulong immediately flashed two coupon bond-sizes pictures of her six-year-old granddaughter, Michaella.

“Can you show this on TV because somebody might recognize her?” she asked the reporters.

Michaella had been missing since the mammoth flood that struck their home in the sitio Saturday dawn and drowned her mother, Michele.

Daulong said they found the body of Michelle among the dead at the Bollozos Funeral Parlor in Barangay Bulua on Saturday afternoon.

But Michaella was not found despite a search made by relatives in places where many of those who perished in the flood caused by tropical storm Sendong had turned up.

“We have searched the nearby morgues. Some of my relatives even went as far away as Camiguin Island but my granddaughter is not there,” Daulong said.

Daulong, who described the death of Michelle, a single parent, and her daughter as tragic, narrated how her daughter and granddaughter met their fate that night as witnessed by some of their neighbors.

“When she sensed the water was rising, Michelle went out of her house and started the car. She then went back inside to get Michaella. But when they came out, a huge wall of water came and swept them away,” she said.

She added it was the last time her daughter and granddaughter were seen by their neighbors.

In another part of the devastated village of Cala-cala, a small girl used a stick in searching for something in the mud that covered the lot where their home once stood.

Nine-year-old KC Cuartero would repeat the process in several portions of the small lot.

“I am looking for my blue bicycle. I am sure it is buried here somewhere,” the girl said.

Surviving residents of Cala-cala are housed under a small covered basketball court, where long lines of people seeking aid and medicine had formed.

At the back was a small white coffin bearing the body of a victim.

In front of the same structure, stress counselors from an NGO were teaching a big group of children games and new words.

Beyond them lay a place that used to be filled with some 400 homes but which had become a wasteland. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)