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Philippines biggest typhoon Bopha kills at least 82, many buried under mud

Manila, Dec 5 (): More than 82 people are now known to have died after typhoon Bopha struck Mindanao Island on Tuesday, bringing rain and high winds. Rescue teams have headed for affected areas and the death toll from the powerful storm that hit the southern Philippines is continuing to rise.

The death toll is expected to climb to more than 100 on Wednesday, while many others remain missing in the worst-hit areas of the southern Philippines. Rescuers said several other bodies could not immediately be retrieved from flood waters strewn with huge logs and debris.

Typhoon Bopha toppled trees and blew away homes with 210km an hour gusts yesterday before weakening overnight as it headed towards the South China Sea. Most of the affected areas remained isolated due to power outages, lack of communications and destroyed roads and bridges.

The military was scrambling helicopters and heavy equipment Wednesday to New Bataan, where rainwater had gushed down from nearby slopes, creating a deadly swirl of rainwater, logs and rocks that crushed everything in its path.

Cateel and two other towns on Mindanao’s east coast remain isolated due to a collapsed bridge and fallen trees and debris blocking roads, said Corazon Malanyaon, governor of Davao Oriental province where Bopha made landfall.

Television recording showed woods being swept down a river, utility workers cutting up fallen trees that were blocking highways, and people lying on mats and cardboard sheets on the concrete floors of gyms turned into shelters.

Bhopa is one of the strongest typhoons to hit the country this year. On Tuesday, the powerful storm struck Davao Oriental at dawn, it then barrelled across central and southern provinces, triggering landslides, flooding and cutting off power in two entire provinces. It headed towards western Palawan province on Wednesday.

Forecasters say the storm is expected to weaken and move into the South China Sea by Thursday. Philippines authorities say they have stored food supplies and rescue equipment in the storm’s predicted path.

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