An enormous fire that consumed a shopping mall in the Philippine city of Davao, trapping at least 37 people inside, continued to burn on Sunday ― more than a day after the blaze began.
Firefighters recovered one body from the still-smouldering NCCC Mall on Sunday, reported CNN Philippines.
Distraught relatives were told there was “zero” chance of survival for those still trapped inside, said Sara Duterte, the city’s mayor and daughter of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. She added that firefighters would not rest until all bodies are recovered and that an investigation would be launched into the cause of the blaze.
The fire is believed to have started Saturday morning on the third floor of the four-story building. SunStar Davao reported that most of the shopping areas of the mall were still closed to the public at the time. Officials said many of those missing worked at a call center inside the building, reported The New York Times.
On Sunday, the city of Davao released a list of names of those reported missing:
President Duterte, who was Davao’s mayor until 2016 when his daughter was elected to the post, visited with relatives of those missing on Saturday night. He was photographed wiping his tears with a handkerchief during the meeting. A representative said the president “assured relatives of the victims that the government would extend help.”
The southern Philippine island of Mindanao, where the city is located, has grappled with another tragedy this weekend. More than 200 people on the island have been reported killed and thousands displaced because of flooding caused by a tropical storm.
Mayor Duterte said on Sunday that in light of the tragedies that have befallen the region, the city government was canceling all planned holiday festivities.