12/07/2012, 00.00
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Mindanao: typhoon victims increase, shelters near collapse

The toll is 484 dead, 383 missing and over 300 thousand displaced. Corpses continue to emerge from under the mud. A man found alive after 48 hours immersed in water and debris. The authorities charged with failure in prevention. Growing fear in Vietnam and southern China for the passage of the typhoon.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The death toll from Typhoon Bopha now stands at  484 dead and 383 missing.  The typhoon has now reached the southern coasts of China and Vietnam and is getting stronger, with winds exceeding 100 miles per hour. The number of displaced persons is also in steady growth now estimated to be 300 thousand. According to local sources, the shelters are near collapse and unable to deal with the emergency. In the city of New Bataan (Compostela Valley), the most affected by the typhoon, over 2 thousand survivors are crammed into the sports building, the only building still standing, and living with the stench of corpses.

In the tragedy and sorrow, the stories of survivors miraculously escaping death multiply. To date, the rescue teams have rescued 38 people, including two children aged three and nine years. The latest story is of a man of 54, Carlos Agang, who was buried in the mud for almost 48 hours. "I was hit by a wave of mud - he says - while I was being dragged I screamed for help, then I blacked out. I do not know what happened to my family, maybe they are all dead." Carlos, a farmer for a bananas company in New Bataan was saved by some farmers, who saw him emerge from under the mud. "It is a miracle - he says - a few more hours under the ground and I'd be dead."

Today, President Benigno Aquino began his visit to flooded areas, where the population accuses the government of delay in rescue efforts and not to investing in prevention and equipment. Some denounce local governments for exacerbating the financial statements of tragedies over the years allowing the construction of mines in areas of high population density, or near waterways increasing the risk of landslides. The authorities have launched an appeal for immediate International help. In the affected areas food, tents, water purification systems and medicines are lacking. Mar Roxas, Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, has prepared the immediate dispatch of equipment for the survey of the land and canine units, able to sniff out people still alive under the rubble.

Bopha, which hit the island of Mindanao last December 4, is the strongest typhoon of 2012. The damage so far calculated are approximately 100 million dollars. However, that only regards the agricultural sector of coconut, bananas and rice plantations. According to the government the figure is expected to rise, there is no data related to the mining sector of gold and copper, covered with meters of mud. Every year, the Philippine archipelago is hit by the passage of at least 20 typhoons, some of them of a devastating nature. In December 2011, the storm Washi killed more than 1,200 people, affecting the provinces of Cagayan de Oro and Illigan, which are also affected by Bopha. In September 2009, the storm Ketsana flooded Manila and the northern part of the island of Luzon, killing more than 400 people and leaving more than one million displaced

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See also
Mindanao: landsides and mud hamper rescue in areas hit by Typhoon Bopha
Typhoon Bopha: nearly 500 dead and hundreds missing in the southern Philippines
Typhoon Bopha: hundreds dead and 87 thousand displaced in the southern Philippines
Taipei, Morakot death toll “over 500”
Mindanao: AsiaNews supporting the work of Caritas among the victims of Typhoon Bopha


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