More than 1,000 missing in Philippines after storm

A woman looks at posters of missing persons in Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao on December 22, 2011.

Story highlights

  • A total of 1,079 people remain unaccounted for after Tropical Storm Washi, the government says
  • The death toll from the storm continues to rise, reaching 1,080
  • More than 300,000 people are being taken care of at evacuation centers
  • The U.N. has made an appeal to raise $28 million to deal with 'huge' humanitarian needs

More than 1,000 people are missing in the aftermath of a tropical storm that wreaked havoc across the southern Philippines last weekend, the country's government said Friday, as it grappled with the mounting humanitarian crisis in the region.

A total of 1,079 people remain unaccounted for, the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a statement. Earlier in the week, the disaster council said it had lost count of the number of missing as it tried to assess the scale of the destruction.

The death toll from Tropical Storm Washi, which set off landslides and flash floods that swept away whole villages, has risen to 1,080, according to the council.

The United Nations said Wednesday that the storm has created "huge" humanitarian needs on the island of Mindanao, the scene of the worst devastation. It has made an appeal to raise $28 million to deal with the immediate problems in the area, with hundreds of thousands of people displaced in and around the port cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

"I was shocked by scale of destruction I saw," David Carden, the head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Philippines told CNN on Thursday after visiting the region. He said it looked as if an "inland tsunami had struck the area."

Around 675,000 people have been affected by the storm, the disaster council said Friday, with more than 300,000 of them being taken care of at evacuation centers at the moment.

President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines has declared a state of national calamity following the storm.

The disaster council said it estimated the cost of the damage caused by the storm at more than one billion Philippines pesos ($23 million).

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