'Sendong' death toll climbs to 56

Posted at 12/17/11 8:53 AM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - The death toll from tropical storm "Sendong" (international name Washi) rose to 56 on Saturday as it battered southern Philippines, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

Fifty-one people drowned on Mindanao island, including 40 in Iligan city, while five were killed in a landslide in Campostela Valley, NDRRMC director Benito Ramos said.

Aside from the fatalities, one person was reported missing in a village in Cagayan de Oro, Ramos said in an earlier interview.

Iligan mayor Lawrence Cruz said rampaging floodwaters from swollen rivers swamped at least 10 villages in the city. He said water levels rose so fast while people were asleep.

In an advisory at 9 a.m., the NDRRMC, meanwhile, reported that a total of 5,040 passengers, 82 trucks, 6 cars, 143 buses, 6 motorized bancas, and 87 vessels were stranded in regions VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and CARAGA.

Weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Sendong has intensified slightly, traversing Sulu Sea towards Palawan as of 11 a.m. Saturday.

It was last spotted 180 kilometers West of Dumaguete City, packing winds of 75 kilometer per hour and gustiness of up to 90 kph.
Signal Number 2 was hoisted over Palawan, Southern Negros, and Zamboanga del Norte.
Signal number 1 was raised in Cuyo Island, Southern Cebu, Siquijor, Northern Negros, Zamboanga del Sur and Misamis Occidental. With reports from AFP; Dexter Ganibe, dzMM