Philippines typhoon death toll nears 400

Thursday 06 December 2012 13.43
Thousands have been forced to leave their homes because of Typhoon Bopha
Thousands have been forced to leave their homes because of Typhoon Bopha

Rescue workers are searching through thick mud and broken homes for survivors, two days after a typhoon swept the southern Philippines.

Typhoon Bopha has left 379 people dead, according to the National Disaster Agency.

Hundreds more are still missing after Bopha triggered landslides and floods along the coast and in farming and mining towns inland in the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

In the worst-hit area of Compostela Valley, governor Arturo "Arthur" Uy said estimates showed 200 had died and almost 600 remained missing in his province alone.

He said people had been evacuated from riverbanks and shorelines, but that floods and strong winds battered places where residents where supposed to be safe, including shelters.

Foreign governments, including the United States, Japan and the European Union, offered help to displaced families.

Nearly 200,000 are in shelter areas and most of those have lost their homes.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent made an urgent appeal for funds to help feed and provide shelter for 50,000 people on Mindanao.

Major-General Ariel Bernardo, an army division commander, said a navy ship was bringing food, water and relief goods to three coastal towns isolated by collapsed bridges and damaged roads.

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, but most storms make landfall further north.