– Philippines tropical storm kills hundreds (Guardian, Dec. 17, 2011):
The death toll from the devastating flash floods that swept across the southern Philippines in the wake of a tropical storm has risen to more than 400.
The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) said 436 people are now confirmed dead based on a body count in funeral parlours.
The storm sent walls of water cascading through coastal cities in the country’s Mindanao group of islands, with 215 killed in Cagayan de Oro and 144 in nearby Iligan and the rest in other southern and central provinces, said the aid agency’s secretary general Gwen Pang.
She said the hardest-hit areas were in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, with many houses being swept into the sea. Most of the dead were swept away while they slept when floodwaters tore through their homes following 12 hours of torrential rain.
Earlier Colonel Leopoldo Galon, an army spokesman, said emergency workers had recovered 97 bodies, most of them children, in Cagayan de Oro.“I can’t explain how these things happened, entire villages were swept to the sea by flash floods,” Galon told Reuters. He said the death toll was expected to rise.
“I have not seen anything like this before. This could be worse than Ondoy,” he said, referring to a 2009 storm that killed hundreds of people in the capital, Manila.