Mass burial for Philippines typhoon victims

Mass burial for Philippines typhoon victims

Mass burial for Philippines typhoon victims

Updated 23 December 2012, 19:30 AEDT

The first mass burial for unidentified victims of Typhoon Bopha has been held in the southern Philippines.

Bopha struck the country's southeast earlier this month, wiping out coastal communities in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces, with inland towns also hit hard by floods and landslides.

The confirmed death toll from the typhoon stands at 1,067, with more than 800 people still missing.

About 200 bodies have been laid to rest in Compostela Valley.

Local officials say the mass burial was necessary due to the potential health threat from decomposing bodies.

Meanwhile, heavy rains have caused flash flooding in parts of the region.

People living in landslide and flood-prone areas have been urged to evacuate.

'Desperate' situation

The International Federation of Red Cross says around 300,000 people remain homeless in the Philippines.

The IFRC says urgent humanitarian assistance is needed to help around 200,000 of those affected by the deadly typhoon.

"The situation is truly desperate," said Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross.

"So many people who had very little before the typhoon struck have been left with virtually nothing.

"The next few weeks will be critical. We have to meet people's basic daily needs, such as food and water, but they also need help to rebuild their homes and livelihoods."

Ms Pang says the homes of at least 330,000 people have been destroyed, leaving families in temporary evacuation centres or with relatives.

The IFRC has launched a $US17.7 million (13.4 million euros) emergency appeal.

Typhoon Bopha slammed into the southern Philippines in early December, wreaking havoc mainly across the island of Mindanao.

ABC/AFP