CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews/ 15 Dec) — Hundreds of school children will carry Christmas lanterns to a rotunda where they will hang them on a giant acacia tree that survived the flashfloods unleashed by typhoon Sendong two years ago.
Some of the children will also accompany Sendong survivors in bringing the Christmas lanterns to Sitio Cala-cala in Barangay Macasandig, a village totally wiped out by the flashfloods on December 16-17, 2011.
Maricel Casino-Rivera, Cagayan de Oro City information officer, said a memorial mass officiated by Archbishop Antonio Ledesma will be held at the Rodelsa Rotunda at 5 p.m. on Monday, December 16, to be attended by the schoolchildren and Sendong survivors.
“The children will be coming from the City Central Elementary School. Teachers will assist them to Rodelsa Rotunda where they will hang the lanterns on the Acacia tree,” Rivera said.
Typhoon Sendong left 1,268 persons dead in Visayas nad Mindanao, 1,227 of them in Mindanao, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Cagayan de Oro City posted the highest death toll at 734 followed by Iligan City at 490 and Bukidnon at 42.
Ermin Pimentel of Xavier University volunteer group, Kristohanong Katilingban sa Pagpakabana, said a 10-vehicle convoy bearing Christmas gifts will depart here for the Yolanda-stricken province of Leyte after the memorial mass.
“It is Cagayan de Oro’s way of paying back. This time we want to put smiles on the residents of Palo, Tanauan and other places in Leyte,” Pimentel said.
He said five trucks of the 10-vehicle convoy are carrying 12,000 food packs; enough tarpaulin for 5,000 families; toys, nutritional packs and school kits for 5,000 children; first aid kits, anti-tetanus vaccine shots and other medicines.
Pimentel said 150 doctors, nurses, professionals and students have volunteered to spend four days in Leyte to help the residents rebuild their homes in Tanauan, Palo and Dulag towns which were hit hard by super typhoon Yolanda.
Last Saturday night, the volunteers underwent lectures and were given anti-tetanus shots in Xavier University.
The volunteers include ten psychologists experienced in dealing with trauma among Sendong survivors.
He said the local government of Misamis Oriental also provided generating sets and chain saws to provide power for the volunteers to work.
“This is the second time that Cagayan de Oro sent a mission but this is the biggest collective effort,” Pimentel said.
He said the mission was partly funded by the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese for the Diocese of Palo which was badly affected by Yolanda. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)