Philippines Flood Toll Soars

Posted December 23rd, 2011 at 5:45 am (UTC-5)
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Officials in the Philippines said Friday the number of people missing from last week's flooding has risen to more than 1,000.

The national disaster agency said tropical storm Washi and the flash floods it caused on the southern island of Mindanao also killed at least 1,080 people.

The agency put the number of missing at 1,075, up sharply from the previous estimate of around 50.

Most of the casualties were in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, where hundreds of thousands of people were displaced.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino visited the area Tuesday and declared a state of calamity, as workers continued to pull bodies from landslides and bury them in mass graves.

Iligan Mayor Lawrence Cruz said the bodies were being buried in mass graves to prevent a health crisis. He said those who have been identified could be sent to a permanent resting place if the family agrees.