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Aid plea for Filipino flood victims

The death toll from flash floods that ravaged the southern Philippines reached 652 as aid agencies spoke of an urgent need for food, water and shelter for survivors.

Hundreds of people remain unaccounted for in the wake of a tropical storm which made landfall at night and devastated swathes of communities.

The British Government has offered its "sincere condolences" to the families and friends of the victims, many of whom are understood to be children.

Filipino communities in London have sent messages of support and offered to take part in fund-raising activities to boost the relief effort, the Philippine Red Cross said.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesman said they were not aware at this time of any British deaths or casualties.

Disaster struck southern cities such as Iligan and Cagayan de Oro on Mindanao Island which had 12 hours of sustained rainfall, causing landslides, rivers to burst their banks and sending walls of water crashing down mountain slopes into homes.

Philippine Red Cross general secretary Gwen Pang said that the death toll had crept up to 652 and was expected to rise as relief teams reached isolated areas.

She told the Press Association: "It is very serious because the floods affected areas which have not experienced anything like this before. We have launched an appeal for support and we have received some already from our partners, including the Chinese Embassy and some corporations.

"There is a pressing need on how to handle the bodies. Water and food are also urgently required, as are hygiene kits, shelter and kitchen utensils."

Benito Ramos, head of the government's disaster response agency, said coffins and body bags were also desperately needed, saying the situation was "overwhelming".


From Belfast Telegraph