Typhoon Bopha batters Philippines

MINDANAO MAYHEM::About 40 people were killed or missing in flash floods and landslides on Mindanao, while water and soil had swept through an army post

Reuters, MANILA

Wed, Dec 05, 2012 - Page 1

The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year pounded the southern island of Mindanao yesterday and about 40 people were dead or missing after the storm destroyed homes and brought down power and communications lines, reports said.

Typhoon Bopha, with wind gusts of up to 195kph, made landfall at dawn, uprooting trees and tearing off roofs.

About 40 people were killed or missing in flash floods and landslides near a mining area on Mindanao, ABS-CBN television reported, saying water and soil had swept through an army post.

A television reporter said she saw numerous bodies lined up near the army base. A military spokesman earlier said about 20 people, including six soldiers, were missing.

Disaster official Liza Mazo said more casualties were expected to be discovered as search and rescue teams fanned out.

Media said dozens of people were injured by flying debris and falling trees, and swept away by swollen rivers and flash floods, but the relatively low death toll was due in part to an early evacuation. More than 155,000 people were in shelters when the typhoon hit.

About 20 typhoons hit the nation each year, often causing death and destruction. Typhoon Washi killed 1,500 on Mindanao last year.

“We have suffered enough,” Felicitas Cabusao said, clutching a Holy Rosary beside her crying 12-year-old daughter.

Cabusao said her daughter survived Typhoon Washi, almost exactly a year ago, after she was washed out to sea when flash floods swept away entire coastal villages.

Dozens of domestic flights and ferry services in the central and southern Philippines were suspended. Schools and some businesses were closed.

Typhoon Bopha was heading west-northwest and was expected to move out into the South China Sea by tomorrow.