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More rain forecast for storm-battered Philippines

By the CNN Wire Staff
December 27, 2011 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The government revises the death toll, based on a regional count
  • Flash floods and landslides are possible in Mindanao and Visayas
  • The U.N. has made an appeal to raise $28 million to deal with the 'huge' humanitarian needs

(CNN) -- The Philippine government said Tuesday that fresh rain in Visayas and Mindanao could set off flash floods and landslides, bringing the potential for more misery in places already struggling to recover from a deadly tropical storm.

Eastern Luzon will experience cloudy skies with scattered rain, while the rest of the island will have mostly cloudy skies with light rain, the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) predicted.

On Tuesday, the national government offered a new death toll -- 1,453 -- then revised it again based on a count by Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. The lower count means the death toll from the storm that lashed the southern Philippines more than a week remained unchanged from Monday: 1,249.

The bodies of people swept out to sea by flash floods from the storm have washed up on nearby beaches and islands, Maj. Reynaldo Balido, the military assistant for operations at the Office of Civil Defense, said Monday.

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The authorities have enlisted the help of local fishermen to help the continuing search and rescue efforts for the scores of people who remain missing, Balido said by telephone from the island of Mindanao, the scene of the worst devastation. He added that the fishermen volunteered, since many of them had lost friends and relatives in the disaster.

The unusually heavy rains of Tropical Storm Washi, which churned across the southern Philippines between December 16 and 18, resulted in landslides and flash floods that swept away whole villages. The authorities have had to carry out mass burials in order to deal with the large numbers of dead.

"I've gone through many disasters but this one is the worst as some of the survivors have lost so many family members," said Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.

"Some have lost as many as 30 relatives," he said in comments posted recently on the organization's website.

The number of people injured as a result of the storm has more than doubled to 4,594 from 1,979 at the weekend, according to the NDRRMC putting more pressure on already stretched relief agencies

The United Nations said last week that the storm has created "huge" humanitarian needs in the region. It has made an appeal to raise $28 million to deal with the immediate problems, with tens of thousands of people displaced in and around the port cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

Many people are lacking food, shelter and clean drinking water, the United Nations said.

"We have also established make-shift camps and relief centers for victims in local schools in the area, but because schools are opening on January 3, we are looking to find them more permanent shelter," Benito Ramos, head of the NDRRMC, said.

The storm, known locally as Sendong, has affected more than 700,000 people in the region, the NDRRMC estimated Tuesday.

President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines has declared a state of national calamity following the storm.

CNN's Jethro Mullen and Aliza Kassim contributed to this report.

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