|Relatives cross a river to bury their loved one, who died in a flash flood caused by Typhoon Bopha on |
Dec. 6, 2012, in the southern Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez).
Most of the casualties were killed in the valley surrounded by steep hills and crisscrossed by rivers. Flooding was so widespread here that places people thought were safe, including two emergency shelters, became among the deadliest. Poverty is widespread in the Philippines, and the disaster highlights the risks that some take in living in dangerous areas in the hope of feeding their families. "It's not only an environmental issue, it's also a poverty issue," Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said. "The people would say, `We are better off here. At least we have food to eat or money to buy food, even if it is risky.'" At a government information center in the devastated town, dozens of people waiting for word of missing relatives. Authorities planned to display about 80 newly washed bodies in coffins at a Roman Catholic church, hoping relatives will identify them. On another part of Mindanao last December, 1,200 people died when a powerful storm overflowed rivers. Then and now, raging flash floods, logs and large rocks carried people to their deaths. The Bureau of Mines and Geosciences had issued warnings before the typhoon to people living in flood-prone areas, but in the Compostela Valley, nearly every area is flood-prone. - Huffington Post.
WATCH: Philippines death toll rises over 500.