Storm Slams Southern Philippines, Kills At Least 450

Typhoon SendongFlash floods caused by a tropical storm devastated two major cities and several towns in southern Philippines on Friday, leaving at least 450 people dead with many more reported missing.

The Philippine Red Cross has put the death toll in Cagayan de Oro city at 215, while at least 144 have reportedly died in Iligan City, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said. Cagayan de Oro is the capital of the province of Misamis Oriental while Iligan is a highly urbanized city in nearby Lanao del Norte, both in the country’s Mindanao region. The floods came rushing from the mountains to the cities late Friday after raining for around 12 hours, the Associated Press said. Some rivers also overflowed, flooding places that used to be flood-free in the past.

Officials attributed the high death toll to lack of preparation and complacency of most of the victims, who were not used to seeing such heavy floods in their areas. Tropical storm Washi, locally known as “Sendong,” swept into the country this week, dumping heavy rains in its path. Officials said Washi dumped a month’s worth of rain in Mindanao during the 12-hour period prior to the flash floods.