Typhoon Bopha devastates Philippines (Flickr;NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

Typhoon Bopha devastates Philippines

8th December 2012

Typhoon Bopha left a trail of destruction as it swept across the southern Philippines earlier this week

Category 3 Typhoon Bopham, named by locals as 'Typhoon Pablo', made landfall in the southern Philippines on Tuesday 4 December 2012. Although eight regions were hit, those worse affected were Mindanao and the Visayas. The Civil Defence Office have confirmed that at least 325 people have died, and that a further 379 are missing. An estimated 200,000 remain in evacuation shelters. The typhoon caused the deaths of 184 people in Compostela Valley province (Mindanao) alone.

The typhoon caused massive flash flooding and eradicated some of the emergency shelters in Compostela Valley that were constructed as a safe-haven for nearby villagers. Locals battled with high winds and landslides as lakes and rivers flooded causing water to cascade through towns and villages. Rescue teams were deployed and some are still working to try and reach those in the most remote areas.

Civil defence chief Benito Ramos told a news conference on Thursday; "communications are bogged down, there is no electricity, roads and bridges have been destroyed. We're still in search-and-rescue mode."

The typhoon is the worst since Typhoon Washi hit northern Mindanao last December. 1,300 people died in the flash flooding last year, and although the death toll has reduced dramatically, President Benigno Aquino said more needs to be done; "Any single casualty is a cause for distress. Our aim must always be about finding ways to lessen them."

Both the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the US embassy have warned against travel to the area and cautioned those in the area: “to exercise caution and monitor local news and follow the advice of the local authorities."

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