So far the death toll on the southern Island of Mindanao, has hit 650, while 800 people are still missing after one of the worst disasters to hit the region in decades.

In industrial hub, Iligan, bodies are piled outside the city’s morgues, which are full and no longer accepting bodies after running out of coffins and formaldehyde for embalming.

The first burial of 50 unclaimed bodies will take place today in individual tombs at the city cemetery. Others will be buried in mass graves.

Mayor of the city, Lawrence Cruz, said: “For public health purposes, we’re doing this. The bodies are decomposing and there is no place where we can place them, not in an enclosed building, not in a gymnasium.”

Unclaimed bodies on the are being buried after being marked for possible future identification, say health officials.

Liddy Villarin, health officer in the nearby port Cagayan de Oro, which was also badly hit, said: “We will put markings on the cadaver bags which will give the physical features of each body before they put them in the mass grave.”

Reports say a funeral parlour in Cagayan de Oro dumped around 30 badly decomposed bodies in a city rubbish dump over the weekend, sparking protests from distraught villagers with missing family and friends.

As the clean-up began this morning, authorities said the fact that so many bodies are still unclaimed indicates that entire families have been killed.