Pagasa gives up hope for missing member
Ghio Ong, Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - December 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Officials and employees of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) have given up hope in finding their female colleague who went missing at the height of Typhoon Yolanda last Nov. 8. 

Salvacion Avestruz, 42, remains unaccounted for more than a month after Yolanda struck the Visayas, leaving nearly 6,000 people dead and more than 1,700 missing.

“Her family has accepted her death,” Ramon Agustin, president of the Philippine Weathermen Employees Association, told The STAR.

Agustin said Avestruz’s husband and three children have accepted monetary assistance from the weather bureau and the union amounting to P100,000. 

PAGASA weathermen and employees have launched a fund drive for Avestruz, a native of Catarman in Northern Samar.

Agustin said the family also received cash assistance from an Australian organization. 

Avestruz, along with three other PAGASA personnel, was on duty at the PAGASA station in Tacloban City when Yolanda made landfall, bringing strong winds and storm surges as high as seven meters. 

PAGASA Tacloban station chief Mario Pearanda said Avestruz tried to save the bureau’s microbarograph even though a huge wave was about to swallow the station. 

“It is the general rule in PAGASA that personnel on duty should not leave or abandon their posts at all cost if a locality is under threat from a tropical cyclone. Our lady colleague died not in the comfort of her own home but rather died while in the service of our country,” Agustin said.

AGUSTIN GEOPHYSICAL AND ASTRONOMICAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION MARIO PEARANDA NORTHERN SAMAR PHILIPPINE ATMOSPHERIC PHILIPPINE WEATHERMEN EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION RAMON AGUSTIN SALVACION AVESTRUZ TACLOBAN CITY TYPHOON YOLANDA YOLANDA
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