ILIGAN: More than 600 people were feared killed on Saturday when tropical storm Washi whipped the southern Philippines, unleashing mammoth floods across vast areas of the country.
Relief workers said that 440 people had died and nearly 200 left missing after the storm wreaked havoc, destroying whole neighbourhoods.
About 20,000 soldiers had been mobilised in a huge rescue and relief operation across the stricken north coast of the island of Mindanao, where the major ports of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were worst hit.
Cagayan de Oro city reported 215 dead, and nearby Iligan city lost 144 residents, Philippine National Red Cross secretary-general Gwen Pang told.
Iligan mayor Lawrence Cruz described rampaging floodwaters from swollen rivers that swamped up to a quarter of the land area of the city of 100,000.
“It’s the worst flood in the history of our city,” Cruz told GMA television. “It happened so fast, at a time when people were fast asleep.”