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Typhoon Leaves More Than 200 Dead in Philippines

Residents stand in floodwaters after flash floods brought by Typhoon Washi (Sendong) hit Iligan city, southern Philippines December 17, 2011.

A slow-moving tropical storm is slamming the Philippines, triggering a series of deadly flash floods and landslides.

Typhoon Washi hit the southern region of Mindanao overnight, blanketing the area with heavy rain and high winds.

Officials said Saturday the death toll has surged to more than 200 people, with around 400 missing. The Philippine Red Cross put the death toll even higher, telling the Associated Press the typhoon killed at least 436 people, basing the figure on a body count at funeral parlors.

The chief of the national disaster rescue agency, Benito Ramos, said Saturday that officials are still getting reports from the field and that the number of casualties would probably rise even more.

Some of the hardest hit areas were the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. Witnesses says some homes in the coastal areas were simply swept out to sea while people slept.

Authorities say a popular radio commentator was among those swept away by the floodwaters.

Other residents were forced to their rooftops to escape from the waters and await rescue.

Officals says tens of thousands of people are homeless.

Forecasters say Washi is expected to blow out of the country late Sunday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.