Philippine Flood Search Widens, Death Toll Rises

Fishermen, firefighters, police and sailors have joined forces in the widening search for the bodies of victims of this month's devastating flash floods, pushing the death toll up to 1,236 as of Monday. "We've stopped counting the missing," said the head of the Office of Civil Defense — and as for those whose bodies had been found, two-thirds were unidentified. One hundred fifty more bodies had been found floating as far as 60 miles out to sea, after a typhoon triggered overnight flash floods that washed away whole villages near the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. Meanwhile, more than 60,000 people left homeless by the floods in the largely Catholic country spent Christmas in overcrowded evacuation centers, while the civil defense official said it could take up to six months to establish any degree of normalcy and build temporary housing.

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