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Dec-18-2011 18:08printcomments

650 Missing After Catastrophic Flood Strikes Philippine Islands

Experts warn that the death toll will be significantly higher before it is over.

Sendong flood hits Philippines
Image from the Philippine Red Cross, lease visit their Website at this link:

(MINDANAO, Philippines) - Flashfloods that were triggered by tropical storm Sendong hit Cagayan de Oro City Saturday morning in the Philippines, leaving in its wake total devastation in many areas of Mindanao. The number of casualty continues to rise with death toll placed at 652, and nearly 800 are still missing.

Experts warn that the vast number of missing people could drive the death toll to more than 1400.

From early reports, we know that at least four evacuation centers have been set up on higher ground for the disaster-stricken families. Philippine Red Cross Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang, instructed local chapter to serve evacuees with hot meals and conduct relief operation as soon as possible, however the Red Cross said lifelines in the affected areas were generally interrupted.

The Red Cross is expressing concern over the plight of the affected families, specially the children who were looking forward to the festive Christmas Season and the gifts they will receive. They relate a story of a child crying to her mother who was heard saying, "Do we still have Christmas, mother? Will I get my toys and my new pair of shoes you promised?" The child's mother bit her lips as he held tight her daughter, "Of course you will. Christmas will always be around."

PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon will lead relief distribution Monday in three worst-hit areas in Cagayan De Oro, Iligan and Bukidnon. He will also meet with local Red Cross leaders and partners for a more responsive and effective service delivery to the most vulnerable. Gordon will also encourage partners to focus on disaster risk reduction program as soon as the situation gets back to normal.

Gordon and Pang thanked Movement partners led by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Australian AID which responded immediately to their appeal for help.

Other supporters include Philippine Chinese Charitable Association Inc. (PCCAI), Filipino Chinese General Chamber of Commerce Inc. (FCGCCI), and Smart Communications which also provided "Libreng Tawag" services.

PRC Governor Juan Miguel Zubiri donated 2 water tankers for water distribution to evacuation centers in affected areas.

Red Cross welcomes donations in cash for its continuing relief and recovery efforts. Send your donations to PRC headquarters in Manila or to any affected Red Cross chapters. Red Cross hotline is 5270000. Please visit their Website at this link:

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