ORMOC CITY- The massive tragedy that hit this city over two decades ago that killed more than 3,000 people remembered to be fresh from the collective memories of the city residents. Last November 5, the city residents led by their officials marked the 23rd anniversary of the flash floods spawned by typhoon “Oreng” that hit Ormoc. During the commemoration, Mayor Edward C. Codilla continues urged the people of the city to “protect the environment and help the populace prepare for the incoming hazards.” At 7:30 a.m., the city officials and government employees did a procession with public rosary starting from the City Hall passing through both sides of river walk at Anilao River going to the city mass grave at public cemetery.

It was at the Anilao River where the huge bulk of flood water traversed and overflowed to the city proper that caused at least 10-feet torrent. The procession showed a picture of white- clad employees that symbolized unity and peace. Rev. Fr. Danny Pongos celebrated the Holy Mass at the mass grave that buried 4,922 bodies. Councilor Atty. Ruben Capahi became emotional as he recalled how his family grieved on the loss of his mother Nenita Capahi, 50, then the budget officer of the city government whose body was found at the sea three days after the November 5, 1991 tragedy.

Mayor Codilla said that the 1991 flash flood is one of the country’s worst tragedies where Ormoc became globally known triggering aids from the international community. The tragedy also became part of the city’s history that should never be ignored, he went on. Atty. Capahi compared “Yolanda” to the 1991 flash flood saying the former destroyed wider scope since Ormoc was near its eye but claimed only few lives while the latter was focused at the city proper but thousands of lives were lost hitting the city’s most populous area. This year’s theme, “we prayed, we survived, one city, moving on”. On Nov. 8, the city is set to observe the first anniversary of super typhoon “Yolanda” that claimed lives and caused damages in the region. (ELVIE ROMAN ROA)