Death toll from Philippine typhoon nears 350
BY Associated Press
Thursday, December 06, 2012
12/06/12 at 4:58 AM
A typhoon that washed away emergency shelters, a military camp and possibly entire families in the southern Philippines has killed almost 350 people with nearly 400 missing, authorities said Thursday.
More bodies were retrieved from hardest-hit Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental provinces and six others affected by Tuesday's storm, the Office of Civil Defense reported.
At least 200 of the victims died in Compostela Valley, including 78 villagers and soldiers who perished in a flash flood that swamped two emergency shelters and a military camp.
"Entire families may have been washed away," said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who visited New Bataan on Wednesday. The farming town of 45,000 people was a wasteland of collapsed houses and coconut and banana trees felled by ferocious winds.
Bodies of victims were laid on the ground for viewing by people searching for missing relatives. Some were badly mangled after being dragged by raging floodwaters over rocks and other debris. A man sprayed insecticide on the remains to keep away the flies.
A father wept when he found the body of his child after lifting a plastic cover. A mother, meanwhile, went away in tears, unable to find her missing children. "I have three children," she said repeatedly, flashing three fingers before a TV cameraman.
Dionisia Requinto, 43, felt lucky to have survived with her husband and their eight children after swirling flood waters surrounded their home. She said they escaped and made their way up a hill to safety, bracing themselves against boulders and fallen trees as they climbed.
"The water rose so fast," she said. "It was horrible. I thought it was going to be our end."
Original Print Headline: Typhoon death toll nears 350 in Philippines
Rosalinda Pasko tearfully breaks the news to a relative of the deaths of two of her family members at the flash flood-hit village of Andap, New Bataan township, Compostela Valley, in southern Philippines on Wednesday. BULLIT MARQUEZ/Associated Press