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Britons urged to avoid flood crisis

Britons have been urged not to travel to parts of the Philippines ravaged by deadly flash floods which have claimed more than 430 lives.

Many people were asleep when a tropical storm reached landfall at night and hit southern cities including Iligan and Cagayan de Oro on Mindanao Island.

It brought 12 hours of sustained rainfall, causing landslides, rivers to burst their banks and sending walls of water crashing down mountain slopes into homes.

Before the floods struck the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had already advised Britons against travelling to the region due to terrorist and insurgent activity, and in the wake of the disaster they urged anyone in the area to contact friends and relatives.

Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne said: "The loss of life by flooding in the Philippines is tragic.

"I visited the Philippines earlier this month and know how keenly this loss will be felt by all its people.

"I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of those affected. My thoughts are with them and the Government of the Philippines as they lead the recovery work."

Hundreds of people were missing amid fears from aid agencies that the death toll will rise once their teams manage to reach outlying areas.

A FCO spokeswoman said they were not aware of any British deaths or casualties.

Tens of thousands of people sought shelter on high ground, and thousands of soldiers, backed by emergency teams, were mobilised to help clear coastal cities.

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