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Phillippine flash floods: 1000 dead

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Swollen rivers & landslides sweep thousands out to sea in the middle of the night as they sleep.

flood relief

Photo above of police carrying a body from a destroyed house after floods ravaged a village near Cagayan de Oro city. (Photo: AFP)

Click on map of Mindanao island below to get a larger map with the devastated areas of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan on the north coast of the island.

Also see Youtube clip that surveys the damage here

Click button to listen to Floods in the Philippines to download

Philippine flood toll exceeds 1,000 by Teodoro Aljibe (AFP)


mindanao mapCAGAYAN DE ORO, December 20, 2011 (AFP) -- More than a thousand people are dead or missing after flash floods that ravaged the southern Philippines, the government said Tuesday as cities prepared for mass burials.

Some 957 people have been killed and 49 others are missing after tropical storm Washi lashed the southern island of Mindanao and surrounding areas over the weekend, said civil defence chief Benito Ramos.

Washi brought heavy rains that swelled rivers, unleashing flash floods and landslides that struck in the dead of night and swept away shantytowns built near river mouths.

The toll rose sharply as the bodies of people who were swept out to sea were recovered.

"They were underwater for the first three days but now, in their state of decomposition, they are bloated and floating to the surface," Ramos told AFP.

A British national was among those killed by the storm, Britain's Foreign Office said.

President Benigno Aquino flew to Mindanao on Tuesday to survey the devastation by air, coordinate the relief effort, and express his condolences to the victims' relatives, aides said.

Aquino said the impoverished nation of 94 million people was now in a "state of calamity", his spokesman Ricky Carandang told reporters.

The southern port cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were the worst affected with 579 and 279 fatalities respectively, but other areas were also hit and needed immediate aid from the national government, Carandang said.

Authorities in both cities are are preparing mass burials of unidentified bodies to address health concerns as well as the overpowering stench from huge numbers of dead that have overwhelmed mortuaries.

With dead bodies lying everywhere, there was controversy over Cagayan de Oro authorities' decision to bring at least 20 unclaimed cadavers to a nearby landfill for temporary storage.

Pictures of the bodies, kept under a tent just a few metres (yards) away from the dump where scavengers picked through piles of garbage for items to salvage, caused outrage as they circulated on social networking sites.

Looking for your mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, son, brother, sister who have been missing since Saturday’s flash floods? Go to the city’s dumpsite," Mindanews, a Mindanao-based news outfit, said on its website.

Christian Caballes, the chief medical-legal officer of Cagayan de Oro, said a government team was collecting fingerprints and D# samples from the victims' bodies which are to be interred in mass graves elsewhere.

"This is just temporary," Caballes told AFP.

The disaster area, located about 800 kilometres (500 miles) from the capital Manila, is normally bypassed by typhoons that ravage other parts of the far-flung Philippine archipelago every year.

That’s where they dumped your loved ones for you to identify and claim.

As a result, many residents were caught by surprise when floods suddenly hit their homes as they slept.

More than 284,000 people have been displaced by the storm with over 42,000 huddled in crowded, makeshift government evacuation centres, the the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

Authorities likened the impact of tropical storm Washi to Ketsana, one of the country's most devastating storms which dumped huge amounts of rain on Manila and other parts of the country in 2009, killing 464 people.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Philippine flood toll exceeds 1,000, 2011-12-20, Teodoro Aljibe) 

Flood Natural Disaster Vocabulary

tropical storm Washi - the storm that hit the north coast of Mindanao discussed in the article (See Wikipedia)
tropical storm - a large storm (See Wikipedia)
tropical - relating to the hottest area of the Earth, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn ในเขตร้อน
surrounding - all around a place บริเวณรอบๆ

tropical
storm Washi lashed the southern island of Mindanao and surrounding areas over the weekend, said civil defence chief Benito Ramos.

Mindanao - teh second largest island in the Philippines (after Luzon) in the southern Philippines with many Muslim people living on the island (See Wikipedia)

Cagayan de Oro - the biggest city on the northern coast of Mindanao (See Wikipedia)
Iligan - a city on the north coast of Mindanao that is home to heavy industry such as a large steel mill (See Wikipedia)

fatalities
- people who died
port - an area of water where ships stop, including the buildings around it ท่าเรือ

the southern port cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were the worst affected with 579 and 279 fatalities respectively

toll - the number of deaths and injuries caused by a disaster, accident, disease, etc.
Philippine flood toll exceeds 1,000

ravage -
destroy
flash floods
 ravaged the southern Philippines

mass burials - burying many dead people at the same time (in the same grave)
mass - large numbers, many จำนวนมหาศาล
burial - putting dead bodies under the ground (different from cremation in Thailand; the custom in some religions & societies)

swollen
(adjective)
swollen rivers -
when a river increases in size, grows bigger
swell
(verb)
swell rivers

flash flood
- a sudden flood of low-lying areas (See Wikipedia)
unleash flash floods -
water released suddenly, flowing into low-lying areas 

landslides -
when the wet dirt on a hill or mountain falls down after heavy rain (See Wikipedia)

the dead of night -
very late at night
struck in the dead of night -
happened suddenly very late at night

heavy rains that swelled rivers
, unleashing flash floods and landslides that struck in the dead of night

swept away - when something is suddenly moved away (as if "sweeping" with a broom)

shanty -
a small house (that poor people built from whatever materials they could find) 
shantytown - a small town of poor people in small cheap houses 
river mouth - the place where the river empties into the sea 

swept away
shantytowns built near river mouths

swept out to sea - moved away into the ocean suddenly

recover - get back something that was lost or disappeared (could not be found)
the toll rose sharply as the bodies of people who were swept out to sea were recovered

decomposition - when a dead body starts to fall apart and rot
state of decomposition
state
- condition สภาพ

bloated and floating to the surface
bloated - filled with air
surface - on top of the water
floating to the surface - rising to the top of the water

British national - a person from the UK
national - a citizen of a particular country ประชาชน

survey the devastation by air - look at the damage from an airplane (to see how bad the damage is)
survey - look over
devastation
- damage; large amounts of damage

coordinate the relief effort
coordinate - organizing activities so that people can work together efficiently and successfully (See glossary)
relief effort - organized activities to help large numbers of people (suffering during a natural disaster, for example)

relief
- help for improving a bad physical condition or a bad situation การผ่อนคลาย, การบรรเทา การช่วยให้พ้นภัย  money, food, medicine etc. that is given to help people in places where there has been a natural disaster, war, etc. เครื่องบรรเทาสาธารณภัย
effort - working hard to do something; the energy and enthusiasm that people put into an activity ความพยายาม

relatives - family (grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc)
the victim's relatives - the family of the people who were killed or hurt by some bad event

express condolences - to tell someone that you feel sorry too (about the bad thing that has happened to them)
express his condolences to the victims' relatives

impoverished - very poor ยากจน
calamity - a bad event or serious accident causing damage or suffering เหตุการณ์ที่เลวร้าย
the impoverished nation of 94 million people was now in a "state of calamity"

aid - help or assistance given to someone ความช่วยเหลือ เงินช่วยเหลือ
immediate aid - help right now (without delay)
needed immediate aid from the national government

unidentified - not knowing who someone is
mass burials of unidentified bodies

address - to deal with a problem จัดการปัญหา
concerns - worries ความกังวล
to address health concerns - to deal with health worries 

stench
- bad smell
overpowering stench - the bad smell is so bad (you cannot stand it or endure it)

mortuary -
a place where dead bodies are kept (before they are buried or burned (cremated))
overwhelmed mortuaries - the mortuaries are full of dead bodies and can't handle more

preparing mass burials of unidentified bodies to address health concerns as well as the overpowering stench from huge numbers of dead that have overwhelmed mortuaries

cadaver -
dead body
claim -
come and get something that belongs to you (example: come and claim your lost hat at the lost and found office)
unclaimed -
something that no

unclaimed cadaver -
a dead body that family or friends have not come to get

temporary
- done or used for only a limited period of time, i.e., not permanent ชั่วคราว
storage - the putting and keeping of things in a special place for use in the future การเก็บ
temporary storage - keeping things at a place for a short period of time

controversy - a strong disagreement, especially about a public policy or moral issue ความขัดแย้ง ประเด็นข้อขัดแย้ง

with dead bodies lying everywhere, there was controversy over Cagayan de Oro authorities' decision to bring at least 20 unclaimed cadavers to a nearby landfill for temporary storage

garbage dump - a place to put garbage 
dump
(noun) - same as "garbage dump"
dumpsite - same as "garbage dump"
landfill - same as "garbage dump"

the dump where scavengers picked through piles of garbage for items to salvage

dump (verb) - throw away (as if it is garbage)
loved one - a person you love such as family or close friend 
that’s where they dumped your loved one

identify - to specify who someone is ระบุชื่อ
claim - see above

that’s where they dumped your loved ones for you to identify and claim

circulated - going around
social networking sites - websites like Facebook where people chat and make friends with each other

outrage
- to cause to become extremely angry ทำให้โกรธแค้น
the pictures caused outrage as they circulated on social networking sites.

outfit - a business or organization
news outfit - a news organization

Mindanao-based news outfit - a news organization located in Mindanao
Mindanews, a Mindanao-based news outfit

fingerprint - the pattern on people's fingers used to identify people
DNA sample - also used to identify people 

interred in mass graves
- dead people buried under the ground with many other people

a government team was collecting
fingerprints and DNA samples from the victims' bodies which are to be interred in mass graves elsewhere

disaster - something very bad that happens and causes a lot of damage or kills a lot of people ความหายนะ ภัยพิบัติ

capital
-  the city that is the center of government for a country
the capital Manila - Manila is the "capital" of the country Philippines

typhoon -
a big storm
bypass -
not go through a place
bypassed by typhoons - big storms do not hit and damage the place

archipelago - a group of small islands or an area of sea in which there are many small islands ทะเลบริเวณที่มีหมู่เกาะ
the Philippine archipelago - the islands in the Philippines (a country of 7000+ islands)

the disaster area, located about 800 kilometres (500 miles) from the capital Manila, is normally bypassed by typhoons that ravage other parts of the far-flung Philippine archipelago every year 

residents - people who live in a particular place or area ชาวบ้านในบริเวณ ผู้อาศัยในบริเวณ  ผู้อยู่อาศัย ผู้อาศัย ราษฎรในบริเวณนั้น
caught by surprise - it surprised them, they were not expecting it
many residents were caught by surprise when floods suddenly hit their homes as they slept

displaced - (of people) forced to leave their home, especially because of war or a natural disaster ซึ่งออกจากที่อยู่ไป, ซึ่งย้ายที่
huddled - gathered close together กอดกันกลม
makeshift - temporary and made of low quality materials ที่ใช้ชั่วคราว  (See glossary) using whatever is available and therefore not very good สำหรับใช้ชั่วคราว, ใช้ประทังไปก่อน
evacuation - moving people from a place of danger to a safer place การอพยพ

more than 284,000 people have been displaced by the storm with over 42,000 huddled in crowded, makeshift government evacuation centres

likened - similar to เปรียบเสมือน
impact - an effect or influence ผลกระทบ
devastating - very harmful and damaging

authorities likened the impact of tropical storm Washi to Ketsana, one of the country's most devastating storms which dumped huge amounts of rain on Manila and other parts of the country in 2009, killing 464 people

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