Typhoon kills over 280 in Philippines

Wednesday 05 December 2012 22.33
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Residents gather their belongings after their house was destroyed by strong winds on the southern island of Mindanao
Residents gather their belongings after their house was destroyed by strong winds on the southern island of Mindanao
A man walks amongst destroyed houses after Typhoon Bopha hit Compostela town
A man walks amongst destroyed houses after Typhoon Bopha hit Compostela town
A family rests inside a classroom used as temporary shelter, after authorities evacuated residents in Butuan City
A family rests inside a classroom used as temporary shelter, after authorities evacuated residents in Butuan City

The death toll from the Philippines' strongest typhoon this year has risen to over 280, with hundreds missing.

Typhoon Bopha, with central winds of 120km/hr and gusts of up to 150km/hr, battered beach resorts and dive spots on Palawan island, but it was weakening as it moved west.

Hardest hit was the southern island of Mindanao, where Bopha made landfall yesterday.

It triggered landslides and floods along the coast and in farming and mining towns inland.

Interior Minister Manuel Roxas said 300 people were missing.

"Entire families were washed away," Mr Roxas, who inspected the disaster zone, told reporters.

Most affected areas were cut off by destroyed roads and collapsed bridges and army search-and-rescue teams were being flown in by helicopter.

Power was cut and communications were down.

According to tallies provided by the military and disaster agency officials, 283 people were killed.

Thousands of people were in shelters and officials appealed for food, water and clothing. Dozens of domestic flights were suspended.

The governor of the worst-hit province, Compostela Valley, in Mindanao said waves of water and mud came crashing down mountains and swept through schools, town halls and clinics where huddled residents had sought shelter.

The death toll in the province stood at 160. In nearby Davao Oriental province, where Bopha made landfall, 110 people were killed.

Compostela Valley governor Arthur Uy said irrigation reservoirs on top of mountains had given way sending large volumes of water down to the valleys.

About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, often causing death and destruction.

Almost exactly a year ago, Typhoon Washi killed 1,500 people in Mindanao.

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