Typhoon Death Toll in Philippines Reaches 1,000

Residents of two southern Philippine cities battered by a storm that left over 1,000 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands started the hard work of reclaiming their lives as authorities buried dozens of bodies in concrete vaults on Wednesday.

The head of the national disaster agency, Benito Ramos, said 1,002 people were killed and dozens more remained unaccounted for on Mindanao island after landslides, flash floods, and falling logs triggered by typhoon Washi, one of the deadliest typhoons to hit the country since 2008, swept aside homes and roads as people slept in the early hours of Saturday. Most of Washi’s casualties were in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, with more than 275,000 people homeless, many now sheltering in dozens of evacuation areas.

Washi brought more than 180mm (7 inches) of rainfall over a 24-hour period over northern Mindanao, more than the average of 113 mm (4.5 inches) for an entire December month in the area, Rosalina de Guzman of the weather bureau’s climate data office told Reuters. It was the worst typhoon in northern Mindanao in more than 50 years, or since November 1958 when 227 mm (9 inches) of rain fell, de Guzman said.

Some of the displaced spent the night on sidewalks due to overcrowding in schools, churches, gymnasiums and army bases, raising public health concerns due to poor sanitation and lack of potable water.

City officials in Iligan continued to bury drowning victims, many of them in a decomposing state, in newly-built concrete crypts at a public cemetery. Officials in nearby Cagayan de Oro delayed mass burial to allow police to tag for identification more than 600 bodies recovered.


Source: Reuters

Image: eofw.net

Philippine Typhoon Leaves 650 Dead, 800 Missing

Tropical Storm Washi moved away from the southern Philippines early Monday, but not before leaving behind a wake of destruction and at least 652 people dead and more than 800 missing, according to the Philippine Red Cross. There were no public storm warnings for the East Asian island nation Monday morning, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

The Red Cross noted that entire villages were swept away, suggesting the death toll could rise further. Five people were killed in a landslide, but virtually all the others died in flash flooding after Tropical Storm Washi, which is called Sendong locally.

Survivors in the hardest-hit areas are contending with no electricity or clean drinking water.  Flash flooding overnight Friday — following 10 hours of rain — fueled the devastation. As much as 20 centimeters (8 inches) of rain fell within 24 hours in some areas. Overflowing rivers and tributaries compounded the disaster for low-lying areas, and officials said floodwater reached roof-level in the middle of the night.

Authorities have started distributing food rations for some 10,000 families affected by the storm, while also handing out thousands of blankets and mosquito nets, the Red Cross said. The aid agency is appealing for drinking water, food and dry clothes, and officials have asked for volunteers to pack food to send to those who have been displaced.

Benito Ramos, chairman of the national disaster council, said he thinks the event was influenced by climate change and deforestation. Ramos said the storm moved in a westward path to areas rarely hit by major storms or flooding.


Source: CNN.com

Image: Yahoo! News