December 18, 2011 by staff
Philippines Flooding, At least 521 people were killed and hundreds are missing in southern Philippines, according to the Red Cross, after the most-devastating cyclone to hit the Asian nation this year.
Tropical Storm Washi pummeled northern Mindanao, which is unaccustomed to cyclones, overflowing rivers and flooding coastal cities early yesterday while people were asleep. Local governments didn’t carry out pre-emptive evacuations even after warnings of flooding and landslides, said Benito Ramos, administrator of the Office of Civil Defense.
“The death toll is rising very fast,” Red Cross Secretary General Gwen Pang said by phone from Manila. “It’s a combination of heavy rainfall, strong currents, swollen rivers and high tides.” More than 450 people are missing, Pang said. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said 310 homes were damaged.
Cagayan de Oro, which suffered the biggest death toll in northern Mindanao, is in need of potable water after floods damaged pipes, Major Eugenio Osias said by phone today. Social Works Department activated 68 million pesos ($1.6 million) worth of supplies for storm-ravaged areas, disaster management said. The Red Cross and the military are also providing supplies.
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