Thursday, December 22, 2011
Please help the victims of typhoon Sendong
Residents of two southern Philippine cities battered by a storm that left over 1,000 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands started the hard work of reclaiming their lives as authorities buried dozens of bodies in concrete vaults on Wednesday.
The head of the national disaster agency, Benito Ramos, said 1,002 people were killed and dozens more remained unaccounted for on Mindanao island after landslides, flash floods, and falling logs triggered by typhoon Washi swept aside homes and roads as people slept in the early hours of Saturday.
Washi was one of the deadlist typhoons to hit the country since 2008 when Fengshen killed 938 in the central Philippines, according to the national disaster agency. The worst typhoon was Thelma which struck Ormoc City on central island of Leyte in 1991, causing flash floods that killed more than 5,000 people.
Most of Washi's casualties were in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, with more than 275,000 people homeless, many now sheltering in dozens of evacuation areas.
Some of the displaced headed back to their villages to reclaim their lives and rebuild destroyed houses on Wednesday. Television footage showed residents shoveling mud, washing furniture and hanging clothes to dry under the sun.
Washi brought more than 180mm (7 inches) of rainfall over a 24-hour period over northern Mindanao, more than the average of 113 mm (4.5 inches) for an entire December month in the area, Rosalina de Guzman of the weather bureau's climate data office told Reuters.
It was the worst typhoon in northern Mindanao in more than 50 years, or since November 1958 when 227 mm (9 inches) of rain fell, de Guzman said.
On Tuesday, Aquino declared a state of national calamity and ordered an investigation into the disaster. He said Manila would use more than 1 billion pesos ($22.79 million) in calamity funds and soft loans from multilateral lending agencies such as the World Bank for reconstruction.
The disaster agency said nearly 1 billion pesos worth of infrastructure, schools and hospitals were destroyed in floods. The Agriculture department said more than 15 million pesos worth of crops, mostly rice and corn, were damaged.
($1 = 43.8750 Philippine pesos)