|A viral photo spreading over the social networking sites touched my heart about the aftermath of Tropical Storm Sendong in Northern Mindanao. (Photo by annalyn.net)|
The whole country mourns as the death toll rises to 1249 people (and still counting) and hundreds more are missing after Tropical Storm Sendong (International name Washi) ravaged Southern Philippines last December 16. It brought around 400mm of rainfall within 10 hours that caused heavy floods (around 10 meters high) in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Dumaguete, and some other parts of Southern Visayas and Northern Mindanao. It was unexpected catastrophe that brought Sendong as the world's worst typhoon disaster in 2011.
|TS Washi (Sendong) in Mindanao Island. (Photo by Japan Typhoon Warning Center)|
On the following day, a massive relief operation involving the evacuation of 100,000 people occurred. Approximately 20,000 soldiers were mobilized to assist in recovery efforts and evacuations. The Philippine Coast Guard was dispatched to search for missing people after villages were reported to have been swept out to sea. Sixty people were rescued off the coast of El Salvador, Misamis Oriental and another 120 in the waters near Opol township.
President Benigno Aquino III visited Cagayan de Oro and Iligan on December 20, 2011, and declared a state of national calamity in the affected provinces. The total cost of damages to agriculture and infrastructure is estimated at P999.9 million according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. The President also appealed to its citizens to help the victims in their way of celebrating Christmas in his Christmas Message.
Here are some snapshots of the aftermath (Photos by theatlantic.com):
Rescuers carry a girl to safety following a flash flood that inundated Cagayan de Oro city, Philippines, on Saturday, December 17, 2011. Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong) triggered flash floods in the southern Philippines, killing scores of people. (AP Photo/Erwin Mascarinas)
Aerial view shows logs swept away by flash floods caused by Tropical Storm Washi in the coastal areas of Iligan City, on December 19, 2011. Disaster agencies on Monday rushed to deliver body bags, food, water, and medicine to crowded evacuation centers in the southern Philippines as officials considered digging mass graves for hundreds killed in weekend flash floods. (Reuters/Richel Umel/Pool)
Dump trucks lie in mud on the compound of a three-story house damaged by flash floods brought by Tropical Storm Washi in Cala-Cala town in Cagayan De Oro City on December 18, 2011. Rescuers searched for more than 450 people still missing after flash floods and landslides swept houses into rivers and out to sea, killing more than 1,000 people in areas ill-prepared to cope with deadly storms. Cagayan de Oro and nearby Iligan cities on Mindanao island were worst hit when Tropical Storm Washi slammed ashore while people slept late on Friday and early Saturday, sending torrents of water and mud through villages and stripping mountainsides bare. (Reuters/Stringer)
A motorist speeds past a car hanging on a wall of a house, swept away at the height of the devastating floods in Iligan City, in southern island of Mindanao, on December 19, 2011, two days day after Tropical Storm Washi wrought havoc in the city. The Philippines prepared for mass burials of flood victims December 19 to minimize health risks from rotting cadavers after a cyclone disaster left hundreds dead or missing on Mindanao island. (TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Damaged vehicles washed away by flash floods brought forth by Tropical Storm Washi lie in a ditch in Balulang village in Cagayan de Oro, in southern Philippines December 17, 2011. Tropical Storm Washi, with winds gusting up to 90km/h (56 mph), hit the resource-rich island of Mindanao late Friday, bringing heavy rain that also grounded some domestic flights and left wide areas without power. (Reuters/Erik De Castro)
A village hit by flash flooding caused by Tropical Storm Washi in Cagayan de Oro in southern Philippines, on December 17, 2011. (Reuters/Erik De Castro)
|A woman holds the dead body of her child who was killed during floods caused by Tropical Storm Washi at a village in Iligan City, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, on December 17, 2011. (Cherryl Vergeire/AFP/Getty Images)|
Residents affected by Friday's flash flooding clean up their damaged homes in Iligan city, Philippines, on December 19, 2011. With funeral parlors overwhelmed, authorities in a flood-stricken southern Philippine city organized the first mass burial of unidentified victims who were swept to their deaths in one of the worst calamities to strike the region in decades. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
People sit in a truck with coffins containing the bodies of Tropical Storm Washi victims for a mass burial in a cemetery in Iligan city, on December 20, 2011. (Reuters/Erik De Castro)
An aerial view shows damage caused by floods following Tropical Storm Washi in Iligan City, in the southern island of Mindanao, on December 19, 2011. (Reuters/Richel Umel/Pool)
Scattered overturned trucks near a village hit by flooding brought by Tropical Storm Washi in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, on December 18, 2011. (Reuters/Erik De Castro)
Houses damaged by flash floods in a subdivision in Iligan city, Philippines, on December 19, 2011. (Reuters/Erik De Castro)
Soldiers carry the body of a child drowned by floods brought by Tropical Storm Washi in a village in Iligan city, Philippines, on December 19, 2011. (Reuters/Erik De Castro)
Philippine Navy personnel arrange coffins that will be shipped with drinking water, clothes and other relief goods to flood-stricken Cagayan De Oro and Iligan cities on board a Philippine Navy ship in Manila, Philippines, on December 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Shanties damaged by flash floods brought by Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong) in Cagayan De Oro city, on December 18, 2011.(Reuters/Stringer)
Residents queue up for relief supplies at an evacuation center in Iligan city, on December 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Private organizations and citizens extended their relief efforts to the victims of tropical storm Sendong. Tons of relief goods (foods, clothing, bottled water) were distributed from different organizations and individuals. Shipping and courier companies offered free delivery of goods to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan from anywhere in the Philippines. Netizens also extended their help through donating money via PayPal and other online banking accounts. Giant TV networks held a nationwide telecom and massive media promotion to help the victims of tropical storm Sendong.
The victims of tropical storm Sendong still celebrated the Christmas in evacuation centers. DSWD packed noche buena items for the victims in order for them to celebrate the birth of Christ despite of the calamity happened.
Residents, covering their faces from the smell, watch as workers place unidentified corpses into apartment-style tombs at a pubic cemetery in Iligan City, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, on December 21, 2011. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)