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Philippine Flood: Deadly Mix for Disaster

Posted: Dec 18, 2011

 The absence of a flood warning, high tide, darkness and a false sense of security proved disastrous for people of northern Mindanao when Tropical Storm “Sendong” came over the weekend.

Add illegal logging, rapid urbanization and mining, and the result was deadly for residents of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities, government and Red Cross officials said.

Entire villages were washed away, homes flattened, bridges broken and vehicles upended.

The death toll from the flash floods on Sunday rose to at least 711 in Mindanao. Hundreds remained missing.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said it was a combination of factors that led to the tragedy.
“It’s unusual for Mindanao; a month’s worth of rainfall fell in only a few hours; people were already asleep; the storm hit pineapple plantations that don’t absorb water; it was high tide and waterways were heavily silted. It was unprecedented and overwhelming,” said PRC secretary general Gwendolyn Pang.
In Cagayan de Oro, the bodies, many bloated and bluish and frozen in grotesque poses, continued to pile up in funeral homes. Senior Supt. Gerardo Rosales, city police chief, said 474 bodies had been recovered. A total of 482 persons remained missing.

Officials said 214 died in Iligan, 15 in Bukidnon, five in Compostela Valley and three in Zamboanga del Norte.

The government and the Red Cross appealed for help to feed, clothe and house more than 35,000 people huddled in evacuation centers as soldiers battled to recover bodies.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that President would fly to the devastated areas on Tuesday. Read more here.

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