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article imageTropical Storm Washi hits the Phillipines as 430 reported dead

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By Christopher Bates     Dec 17, 2011 in Environment
According to officials, the Philippines has been hit by a tropical storm, which is reported to have killed up to 430 people, while many others have gone missing.
The majority of victims were on the southern island of Mindanao, which is located around Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro.
Reports are still being published and casualty figures are expected to rise, explained Benito Ramos, head of the national disaster rescued agency.
"Massive flooding had been reported over the region, especially in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City," said Ramos.
Following 25mm of rain in a 24-hour period, rivers burst their banks and combined with powerful winds of up to 90 km/h (55mph), leaving large areas without power and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee to higher ground.
According to officials, nearly 100 dead bodies (most of whom children) were found in the city of Cagayan de Oro, while a landslide killed at least five people in the east of the island. Three people also drowned in Polanco town, Zamboanga del Norte province.
The tropical storm – known as Washi – is now heading out into the Sulu Sea, having passed closed to Dipolog City (west of Iligan City) during the early hours of Saturday morning.
Alongside the coast guard and the army, several rescue groups are assisting in the search for dead bodies and survivors.
Families were climbing though windows to escape their homes, while others were stranded in chest-high water.
The Philippines are struck by approximately 20 major storms every year.
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