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Philippines

Nearly 200 dead as tropical storm Washi/Sendong hits Philippines

Reuters

About 200 people are reported dead and about 400 are missing after tropical storm Washi lashed the southern Philippines. Floods have hit the island of Mindanao as Washi, also known as Sendong, caused rivers to burst their banks.

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Islands to the west of Mindanao were still on alert Saturday, with the storm expected to stay in the Philippines until Sunday afternoon.

It was expected to hit the western island of Palawan on Saturday night after crossing the Solo Sea, with peak winds of 75 km per hour, the state weather service said.

Watch video footage from GMA News
GMA News

In a huge rescue and relief operation, 20,000 soldiers had been mobilised across Mindanao’s north coast, where the major ports of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were worst hit, officials said Saturday.

Iligan mayor Lawrence Cruz described rampaging floodwaters from swollen rivers that swamped up to a quarter of the land area of the city of 100,000.

"It's the worst flood in the history of our city," Cruz told GMA television. "It happened so fast, at a time when people were fast asleep."

The region's military spokesperson said 97 bodies were recovered in Cagayan de Oro, with another 75 bodies found in Iligan.

In Iligan another 250 people remained unaccounted for, they said, with 125 people missing in Cagayan de Oro, a city of half a million people.

Three people also drowned in the town of Polanco and five were killed in a landslide in mountains near the town of Monkayo, the Manila-based National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

The Philippines is struck by about 20 major storms annually.

  • The majority hit the most populated island, Luzon;
  • Two typhoons, Nesat and Nalgae, hit the country within days of each other from late September, leaving more than 100 people dead;
  • Tropical storm Banyan killed another eight people in October.

Map of The Philippines
RFI/Anthony Terrade

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