Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Death toll from tropical storm in Philippines rises to 684

According to NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos, 336 died in Cagayan de Oro city, 279 in Iligan City, 17 in Bukidnon, 38 in Negros Oriental, one in Mandaue City, three from Zamboanga del Norte, five from Compostela Valley and five from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Ramos said they expect the death toll to increase in Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City, noting that retrieval operations were still continuing.

On the number of still missing, Ramos said: "I lost count already. Even the local government here (in Cagayan de Oro City) doesn't know exactly how many are missing. We lost count of the missing."

"Normally a body, if not bloated, sinks. But once it takes in water, it floats after several days so this figure will rise," said Ramos.

The official added some of the decomposing bodies found in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City had been buried in mass graves. The bodies have yet to be claimed by their relatives, so local officials decided to bury them.