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(UPDATE) Bodies disposal progress slow as search continues in typhoon-struck Visayas

CEBU, Philippines (Xinhua) - The search for missing bodies remains uncompleted and complicated in Tacloban City as of yesterday, as concerns on the slow progress regarding dead bodies disposal and pandemic prevention rise.

It's been a week since typhoon "Haiyan" devastated the city on Nov. 8, leaving many drowned or buried under ruins and a great many wooden and metal houses destroyed.

Alfred Romualdez, mayor of the capital of Leyte province in central Philippines, said it is very hard to find the bodies because they're mixed in rubbles and debris. He said it will take more days before the bodies can be recovered.

"We have difficulties in separating bodies from the debris because we lack transportation and professionals," said Romualdez.

It's hard to say how many dead bodies were still unfound due to the shortage of equipment and hands.

Disposing dead bodies is one of the most daunting issues the local government is now facing.

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Bodies of the deceased were placed by the streets near Tacloban city hall and the airport for their relatives to identify, wrapped by hospital bags. Some decomposed bodies were also seen lying by the roadside.

Meanwhile, the high temperature and the rainy weather make works on epidemic prevention all the more challenging.

There was no anti-epidemic measures were taken when workers transporting the bodies, as health service system was seriously damaged in Tacloban whose seven hospitals in were totally destroyed.

Now rescue teams and non-governmental organizations from many countries gathered at the Tacloban city hall to help rebuild the hospitals but they still face many difficulties.

"We have 40 people from France and Belgium here for rescue and communication," Philip, a member of the non-governmental organization B-fast, told Xinhua.

There still remains wide controversies as to the death toll of the disaster. The Philippine ABS-CBN News reports that Elmer Soria, the police chief who announced 10,000 were dead, was dismissed. Benigno Aquino III, the president of the Philippines, said he believed around 2,500 were dead. Some organizations put the number at 4,460.   

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