Update: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the death toll has now risen to over 700.
Flash flooding killed at least 436 people after Tropical Storm Washi slammed into the island of Sendong, and another 400 remain missing.
The International Red Cross also reported that 2,000 people were rescued from the floods, according to CNN. A defense official told CNN that the government is investigating a report that an entire village may have been washed away, a scenario reminiscent of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocena tsunami, which destroyed whole towns in Indonesia. That disaster killed more than 150,000 people.
This storm, while more contained, shared with previous disasters the dangerous element of surprise. "This one seems to have been fairly unexpected," the BBC reported.
Floods had swamped a quarter of Iligan and at least 10 villages on its outskirts, said the city's mayor, Lawrence Cruz.
"It's the worst flood in the history of our city," Mr Cruz told GMA television. "It happened so fast, at a time when people were fast asleep."
The coast guard and other rescuers were scouring the waters off the coastal city for survivors or bodies, he added.
Al Jazeera has video of the violent storm:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.