Philippines Flood 2011
December 22, 2011 by staff
The official death toll from last weekend’s disaster, which swept away shantytowns built near major rivers, has exceeded a thousand but some authorities said hundreds more people could be missing and may never be found.
Benito Ramos, the civil defence chief, told AFP that coast guard and navy vessels have been drafted in for a huge rescue effort to find bodies floating amid debris up to a hundred kilometres (62 miles) away.
“By this time, there will be no survivors, just dead bodies,” he said after tropical storm Washi brought heavy rains that spawned flash floods, overflowing rivers and mudslides that buried bodies or swept them into the sea.
Ramos put the death toll at 1,010 while his agency, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, put the number of missing at 51.
However, Mayor Lawrence Cruz of the hard-hit port of Iligan said that in his city alone, more than 400 residents had been reported missing, with another 283 confirmed dead.
“We could only assume they are dead already. There is so much mud that has to be cleared up and maybe the missing are buried deep inside,” Cruz said.
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