Tropical Storm Washi struck the island of Mindanao, Philippines with such speed and ferocity that it is now feared that the death toll of 652 is likely to rise considerably with almost 1000 posted as missing. The port cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan took the brunt of the flash flooding with sleeping residents swept away as one month's rainfall fell within 24 hours. The victims were mostly shanty town dwellers who ignored warnings to move to higher ground out of the path of the storm as torrents poured down the mountainsides sweeping aside everything in their path. Authorities blame the unusual track of the storm as the cities are rarely ever affected in this way and residents may have assumed that they would be spared the worst. Meanwhile nearly 50000 people have lost their homes and are being cared for in temporary evacuation centres. The clearup operation is underway and mass burials are planned for the victims. It is likely to take many weeks for the streets to be cleared and for mud slides to be removed from farmland to make it workable. In the meantime the searches continue and the harrowing discoveries bring more misery.