Philippines searches for hundreds after typhoon kills 650

By REUTERS
December 18, 2011 13:10

 
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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines - Rescuers searched for more than 800 people missing in the southern Philippines on Sunday after flash floods and landslides swept houses into rivers and out to sea, killing more than 650 people in areas ill-prepared to cope with storms.

Cagayan de Oro and nearby Iligan cities on Mindanao island were worst hit when Typhoon Washi slammed ashore while people slept late on Friday and early Saturday, sending torrents of water and mud through villages and stripping mountainsides bare.

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) said 652 people were killed in eight provinces in the southern Mindanao region, with more than 800 missing.

"Our office was swamped with hundreds of requests to help find their missing parents, children and relatives," Gwendolyn Pang, secretary-general of the PNRC, told reporters. "We're helping coordinate the search with local government, army, police and even other aid agencies."

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