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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Typhoon kills 436 in Philippines

Raging Floodwaters Tore Through Homes At Night As People Slept

Manila: Pounding rain from a tropical storm swelled rivers and sent walls of water crushing into two southern Philippine cities in the thick of Friday night, killing at least 436 people, many caught in their beds, officials said on Saturday. 
    Philippine Red Cross secretary general Gwen Pang said that the latest toll was based on a body count in funeral parlors. She said that 215 died in Cagayan de Oro and 144 in nearby Iligan, and the rest in other southern and central provinces. 
    Most of the dead were asleep on Friday night when raging floodwaters tore through their homes from swollen rivers and cascaded from mountain slopes follow
ing 12 hours of pounding rain in the southern Mindanao region. The region is unaccustomed to the typhoons that are common elsewhere in the archipelago nation. Many of the bodies in parlors were unclaimed, indicating that entire families had perished, Pang said. The number of missing was unclear on Saturday night. Before the latest Red Cross figures, military spokesman Lt Col Randolph Cabangbang said about 250 people were still unaccounted for in Iligan. 
    Soldiers backed up by hundreds of local police, reservists, coast guard officers and civilian volunteers were mobilized for rescue efforts and to clean up after the massive deluge that left the two coastal cities strewn with debris, trash, overturned vehicles and toppled trees. Many roads were cut off and there was no electricity, hampering relief efforts. AP

NIGHT OF DISASTER: (Left) Police rescue trapped residents in Cagayan de Oro city, Philippines, on Saturday; a woman cries over the body of her child

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