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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical storm Sendong (international codename Washi) has left the Philippines as of 8 p.m. December 18, according to weather bureau PAGASA.
As of 10 pm, the center of the Sendong was estimated at 480 km west northwest of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan province, which is next to the West Philippine Sea. PAGASA cited satellite and surface data.
“Sendong has moved out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility,” the bureau said in its final weather bulletin on Sendong at 10:30 pm.
At its wake is over 600 casualties, according to the 10 pm advisory of the Philippine Red Cross.
Sendong is now one of the typhoons that has hit the country. It has claimed more lives than Tropical Storms Ondoy and Pepeng which both struck in 2009. Ondoy claimed 464 lives while Pepeng left 465 dead.
Official figures from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as of 8 pm Sunday put the number of Sendong casualties at 334, and the missing at close to 300.
Sendong slammed into the southern regions on Friday, Dec. 16, and early Saturday unleasing flash floods as people were sleeping in the port cities of Cagayan de Oro and its neighbor Iligan in northern Mindanao.
The floods washed away entire houses with families inside. Electricity was cut and roads and bridges damaged, making rescue difficult. Funeral parlors have run out of space to lay the dead, most of them bloated and fast decomposing. Coffins have run out, especially those for children.
The difficult task of reconstruction has yet to begin as relief efforts are underway.
PAGASA said extra caution must still be observed among residents of, as well as fishing boats and small sea crafts bound for the western Palawan where Sendong exited toward the West Philippine Sea. – Rappler.com