Typhoon May Have Washed Away 'Entire Families'

Philippines death toll rises to 350 with 400 still missing

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Dec 6, 2012 7:30 AM CST

(Newser) – A powerful 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 today. More bodies were retrieved from hardest-hit Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental provinces and six others impacted by Tuesday's storm, the Office of Civil Defense reported.

At least 200 of the victims died in Compostela Valley alone, 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 the country's interior secretary. The scene was a wrenching one in New Bataan, where 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 swarms of flies. A father wept when he found the body of his child after lifting a plastic cover.

Residents cross a river using suspended ropes at Andap, New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.   (Bullit Marquez)
Residents cross a river with the body of a child after retrieving it from the flash flood-hit village of Andap, in New Bataan township.   (Bullit Marquez)
Relatives grieve as they view bodies recovered from floods in New Bataan, Compostela Valley province, southern Philippines yesterday.   (Karlos Manlupig)
Typhoon Bopha, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines this year, barreled across the country's south on Tuesday, killing scores of people.   (Bullit Marquez)
A resident dries their clothes amidst their toppled house at the flash flood-hit village of Andap.   (Bullit Marquez)
Residents walk to an evacuation center after retrieving their belongings at the flash flood-hit village of Andap.   (Bullit Marquez)
A rescuer covers bodies recovered from flashflood in New Bataan, Compostela Valley province, southern Philippines Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.   (Karlos Manlupig)
A resident hangs clothing amid fallen trees and debris a day after Typhoon Bopha made landfall in the village of Andap.   (Bullit Marquez)
Rosalinda Pasko tearfully breaks the news to a relative of the death of her 2 of her family members at the flash flood-hit village of Andap.   (Bullit Marquez)
Children retrieve their books and other belongings from their damaged home Wednesday Dec. 5, 2012.   (Bullit Marquez)
A child stands near his family's damaged house Wednesday Dec. 5, 2012, a day after powerful Typhoon Bopha hit Montevista township.   (Bullit Marquez)
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