Philippines starts to bury dead as typhoon toll hits 418
NEW BATAAN, Philippines (Reuters) - Residents in the southern Philippines began to bury their dead on Friday even as rescue workers continued scouring remote areas for possible survivors of Typhoon Bopha, the country's strongest storm this year, which killed 418 people and left nearly as many missing.
Officials in Compostela Valley, one of the worst hit provinces on the resource-rich island of Mindanao, were considering mass graves for unclaimed bodies killed by the typhoon which hit two days ago.
Bopha cut a swathe of destruction in the valley, flooding farming and mining towns and burying many people in mudslides.
"We are thinking of burying the unclaimed bodies on health concerns," Major General Ariel Bernardo, an army division commander in the southern Philippines, said. "The foul smell is becoming strong." He said rescue and retrieval work was hampered by lack of equipment. "Some of the dead are buried in knee deep mud and we only have our hands and shovels," he said.