Saturday, November 16, 2013
TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) — John Lajara peers under a slab of crumbled concrete, lifts a sodden white teddy bear then drops it back into the filth. He reaches again into the rubble and pulls out a boot, a treasured find in this typhoon-flattened village. But he's searching for something far more precious — the body of his brother, Winston.
For those still looking for loved ones missing since last week's storm, their already torn-apart lives are shot through with a difficult question -- How do you move on when there is no body to bury?
The search for the missing — 1,179 by official count — has become a hellish daily activity for some. In Lajara's seaside village residents estimate that about 50 of the 400 people who lived there were killed. About half of the dead are still missing: mothers, fathers, children and friends.
"Somehow, part of me is gone," Lajara said as another fruitless expedition in the rubble ended Saturday.
Lajara has carried out the routine since both he and his brother were swept from their house by Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 8. And every day has ended so far with no answers on Winston's fate.
According to the latest figures by the Philippines' main disaster agency, 3,633 people died and 12,487 were injured. Many of the bodies remain tangled amongst piles of debris, or lining the road in body bags that seep fetid liquid. Some are believed to have been swept out to sea.
After the initial days of chaos whe