Hundreds die as flash floods hit Philippines
Officials warn death toll will rise as 11ft-deep waters brought by tropical storm start to recede
Sunday 18 December 2011
Flash floods triggered by a tropical storm in the southern Philippines have killed 436 people, with scores of others missing, Red Cross officials said yesterday.
Washi, the 19th storm to hit the Philippines this year, blanketed the Mindanao region, moving over the Sulu Sea yesterday morning with clouds 250 miles in diameter and maximum gusts of 56mph. "In less than an hour the water rose to about 11ft", the height of his home's ceiling, said Ayi Hernandez, a former congressman.
The Philippine Red Cross reported 215 dead in the city of Cagayan de Oro and 144 in nearby Iligan, with more victims in other southern and central provinces. Many of the bodies are those of children and pensioners who were unable to get away in time, and many are unclaimed, indicating that entire families have perished. About 250 people remain unaccounted for in Iligan.
"Most of the dead were asleep when floodwaters tore through their homes. Scores of residents escaped by climbing onto their roofs," said Lawrence Cruz, the mayor of Iligan.
Some 180 people have so far been rescued in waters off El Salvador city and the Opol township after they were swept into the sea by a raging river. Evacuees are now packed into temporary shelters. "I have not seen anything like this. This could be worse than Ondoy," said an army spokesman, referring to the 2009 storm that killed hundreds in the capital, Manila.
Thousands of soldiers with hundreds of police, reservists, coast guard officers and civilian volunteers have undertaken a rescue mission and are attempting to clear the debris that has deluged coastal cities.
The Civil Defence Office chief, Benito Ramos, attributed Mindanao's high death rate partly to "the complacency of people who are not in the usual path of storms", despite four days of warnings. A spokesman for the national disaster agency said the death total is likely to rise.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
- 4 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook CEO's one simple test for who to hire
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Saudi Arabia executions now at 'unprecedented rate' after kingdom kills four more in two days
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...