Powerful typhoon kills at least 74 in Philippines

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm •  Published: December 4, 2012
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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Torrential floods from a powerful typhoon engulfed emergency shelters and an army truck carrying soldiers and villagers who were fleeing their homes in the southern Philippines, raising the death toll from the storm to at least 74.

At least 43 of the victims drowned in one village. Rain accumulated atop a mountain and flooded down on Andap village in New Bataan town in hard-hit Compostela Valley province, Gov. Arturo Uy said. A school and village hall where evacuees were staying was swamped by the flash flood and an army truck carrying soldiers and villagers was washed away, according to Uy and army officials.

"They thought that they were already secure in a safe area, but they didn't know the torrents of water would go their way," Uy told DZBB radio Tuesday.

He said the town's death toll would rise because several uncounted bodies could not immediately be retrieved from floodwaters strewn with huge logs and debris.

Some 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines annually, but they more commonly hit the northern and central provinces of the archipelago. President Benigno Aquino III had appealed on national television for people to take storm warnings seriously.

About 60,000 people were staying in emergency shelters and more than 100 domestic flights were canceled.

Typhoon Bopha had winds of 175 kilometers per hour (109 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 210 kph (130 mph) when it made landfall around Davao Oriental province at dawn Tuesday. It knocked out power in two entire provinces, and its ferocious winds ripped roofs from homes and toppled trees.

Winds weakened to 140 kph (87 mph) with gusts up to 170 kph (106 mph) by evening. It had moved out to sea again by Wednesday morning.

Twenty-three people drowned or were pinned by fallen trees or collapsed houses in Davao Oriental province's coastal town of Cateel, which had the most deaths after New Bataan, Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon told the ABS-CBN TV network, citing police reports.

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