12/05/2012, 00.00
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Typhoon Bopha: hundreds dead and 87 thousand displaced in the southern Philippines

The official toll is about 100 dead, but some sources report 230 and say the number is set to rise. The greatest damage on the southern island of Mindanao. Army and volunteers involved in the rescue operations. Manila emphasizes prevention efforts. Typhoon heads towards the South China Sea.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Over one hundred dead - some sources speak of 230 - have been reported in the provisional toll following Typhoon Bopha, renamed Pablo in the Philippines, which yesterday struck the south of the country, in particular the island of Mindanao. The number is likely to rise, since only in the last few hours civil protection, military and volunteers have managed to reach the most remote areas. Almost 90 thousand displaced people are being accommodated in emergency centers set up by the government; Manila, meanwhile, is satisfied with prevention plans and early warning systems which has helped to limit the scope of the disaster. Bopha, in fact, is estimated to be even more devastating Typhoon Washi, which hit the archipelago in December 2011 causing an estimated 1,300 victims.

Yesterday, the typhoon hit the southern island of Mindanao, bringing rain and strong winds up to 210 km / h, forcing authorities to evacuate tens of thousands of inhabitants. Currently it is passing over the western island of Palawan and in the early morning of tomorrow, will arrive in the South China Sea. Experts have not excluded that it might even touch the coasts of China, carrying with it a burden of death and destruction.

Many areas in Mindanao are still without electricity, food or drinking water, roads are cut off due to the collapse of bridges. The army is struggling to bring relief to the displaced in remote and isolated areas. Dozens of domestic flights and ferry connections have been interrupted in the centre and south of the archipelago, even schools and offices remained closed.

Corazon Soliman, Minister of Social Welfare, said that among the most critical areas is the southern mountainous town of New Baatan in the region of Davao. "The bodies are left on the roadside, in the open air - said the politician - and we do not want to run the risk of spreading disease."

At the same time, the government is highlighting efforts made in recent days to limit the damage and victims of the typhoon, sending text alerts and ads on TV to prepare the population, which reacted better than in the past. There are in fact damage to homes, crops and infrastructure, but the work of prevention "has saved many lives."

Every year, the Philippine archipelago is hit by the passage of at least 20 typhoons, some of them of a devastating nature. Bopha is the 16th to affect the Philippines in 2012. In August there were a hundred deaths and a million displaced by a series of violent storms. In 2011 there were 19 typhoons, 10 of high intensity: the death toll reached 1,500 mostly caused by Typhoon Washi (see AsiaNews 20/12/2011 Typhoon Washi, Manila declares a national emergency. First burials en masse).

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See also
Typhoon Bopha: nearly 500 dead and hundreds missing in the southern Philippines
Philippines, survivors battle for aid. Manila disputes the UN estimate of victims
Mindanao: typhoon victims increase, shelters near collapse
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