Philippine typhoon kills 650
Updated: 2011-12-19 07:29
Search goes on for hundreds still missing
CAGAYAN DE ORO, the Philippines - Rescuers searched for more than 800 people missing in the southern Philippines on Sunday after flash floods and landslides swept houses into rivers and out to sea, killing more than 650 people in areas ill-prepared to cope with storms.
Victims of Typhoon Washi try to recover what they can in a village in Cagayan de Oro in the southern Philippines on Sunday. Rescuers searched for more than 800 people still missing on Sunday after flash floods and landslides swept houses away killing more than 650 people in areas ill-prepared to cope with deadly storms. Photo by Erik De Castro / Reuters
Cagayan de Oro and nearby Iligan on Mindanao island were worst hit when Typhoon Washi slammed ashore while people slept late on Friday and early on Saturday, sending torrents of water and mud through villages and stripping mountainsides bare. The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) said 652 people were killed in eight provinces in the southern Mindanao region, with more than 800 missing.
"Our office was swamped with hundreds of requests to help find their missing parents, children and relatives," said PNRC Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang. "We're helping coordinate the search with local government, army, police and even other aid agencies."
Floods washed away entire houses with families inside in dozens of coastal villages in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
"This is the first time this has happened in our city," said Vicente Emano, mayor of Cagayan de Oro. He said officials in the area did not receive adequate warning before the typhoon struck.
The state disaster agency said adequate warnings had been given to officials and residents three days before the typhoon made landfall on Friday.
Disaster and health officials were struggling to deal with the scores of bodies that have been recovered. Some were stacked one on top of each other in mortuaries that were unable to cope with the numbers of dead.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Chinese embassy in the Philippines said it will donate 440,000 pesos ($10,000) in relief funds through the PNRC.
So far, no Chinese nationals have been found dead in the flash floods, a Chinese embassy official said on Sunday. An official with the Chinese consulate in Cebu said there were reports so far of casualties among Chinese citizens.