Flood in Mindanao

At least 650 people have died and more than 800 are missing after the tropical storm Washi or Sendong (local name) swept across the southern Philippines. More than 10-hour heavy rain that started, in the afternoon, on Friday, December 16, 2011, caused a massive flood that affected many places on the island of Mindanao.

The two most affected cities are Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. Thousands of houses were literary swept by the water or were very heavily damaged. Several barangays in Cagayan de Oro were completely under water. Many of the dead were swept out to sea. Others were buried alive as mud cascaded down mountain slopes. Water levels rose three feet in less than an hour, forcing thousands to climb onto the roofs of their homes where they huddled against wind speeds reaching 55 miles per hour. Unfortunately, in many cases only concrete houses could face the damaging force of the nature. The highest death toll is among the children, disabled and elderly people. According to the news, even one hundred thousand people might be displaced. Many of the victims lost everything they had. In Cagayan de Oro City there are 20 evacuation centers full of people waiting for help. At the moment, the most urgent need is potable water, food and cleaning materials.

The SCJ Formation House in Aluba , located in the upper part of Cagayan de Oro City, was not affected directly by the flood, except for lack of electricity and internet connection. However, the compound of Kasanag Daughters Foundations, run by SCJs, was once again under the water. This time the level of the water has gone even higher, reaching at least thirteen feet. Most of the things inside the buildings were damaged and need to be replaced. The flood left tons of mud behind. Fortunately, all the girls and the staff, together 35 people, were safely transferred to the SCJ Formation House and given shelter in the Pre-College building. They will stay with the SCJ community until the facilities of Kasanag will be ready to accommodate them again.

So far, it was one of the strongest tropical storms that ever passed through Mindanao.