Flood victims buried as death toll soars
Published 20/12/2011 | 05:00
With funeral homes overwhelmed, authorities in a flood-stricken southern Philippine city yesterday organised the first mass burial of people who were swept to their deaths in one of the worst calamities to strike the region in decades, writes Bullit Marquez.
The official death toll from Friday night's disaster rose to 927. The number of missing varied widely. Official figures put the number at 82, while the Philippine Red Cross estimated 800. The disparity underscores the difficulty in accounting for people who could be buried in the mud and debris littering much of the area or could be alive but lost in crowded evacuation centres.
In Iligan, a coastal industrial hub of 330,000 people, the city's half-dozen funeral homes were full and no longer accepting bodies. The first 50 or so unclaimed bodies were buried in individual tombs at the city cemetery.