06 December 2007

Death in Rapu-Rapu

Maurita de Ramas, 27, married, with 4 kids, from Brgy. Poblacion, Rapu-Rapu, passed away at 11 a.m. on 23 November 2007.

She complained of nausea and vomiting immediately after eating some fish caught by her husband on 28 October 2007, the same day a massive fish kill was witnessed by residents in Brgy. Poblacion. As she was the first to eat what was supposed to be their meal, and having seen her condition, the rest of her family no longer ate the cooked fish. She was immediately brought to the hospital and was given some medication. For the next few days, she went back several times to the hospital because of her ailment. She developed a boil on her face and wounds over her stomach before eventually succumbing to heart failure.

Her husband blamed her death to the apparently contaminated fish she ate days before, and to the Lafayette mine, the most probable cause of the fish kill. He also said she had no history of any major illness. She was buried the next day as her family could not afford embalming services.

It was a gloomy day on her funeral, both figuratively and literally. It was the day the typhoon (coincidentally named) "Mina" was predicted to arrive in Albay. The typhoon changed course eventually, sparing the province.

Maurita de Ramas' illness and death seemed eerily symbolic of the suffering of the people, and of the island itself, of Rapu-Rapu.

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