At least 172 people have died and hundreds remain missing when tropical storm Washin (local name Sendong) brought heavy downpour that caused massive flooding in some parts of Mindanao on Saturday, military officials said.
In Eastern Mindanao, 97 people died in the Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City areas. At least 125 others are missing and subject to search and rescue efforts, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman Leopold Galon.
Citing reports from the field, Galon said about 2,000 others were rescued.
He said military trucks, boats, helicopters and ground troops have been deployed in the two areas for search and rescue operations.
In Western Mindanao, AFP Western Mindanao Command spokesman Randolph Cabangbang said they have accounted 75 deaths.
"Seventy-five dead (have been) physically accounted," said Cabangbang, adding that 15 were rescued at sea and 250 are still missing.
Calon said, "It brought continuous rains since last night."
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director and Office of Civil Defense administrator Benito Ramos said Philippine President Benigno Aquino III went to the NDRRMC office in Camp Aguinaldo for a briefing.
"We gave him a briefing on what happened and he instructed us to bring assistance to the victims," said Ramos, adding the Department of Social Welfare and Development will be on the frontline on this.
Ramos said the NDRRMC's official death toll is 56 dead with one missing. He noted that local government units, the Armed Forces, the Coast Guard, other government agencies and even the media were making their own count that are far larger than the NDRRMC count.
"But to us, we rely on bodies and their names," said Ramos, adding "The flooding occurred around 2:30 a.m while the people were sleeping. The massive rains caused the silted river system to overflow."