| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Typhoon's death toll tops 500 in Philippines; 400 missing

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

NEW BATAAN, Philippines — Rescuers were digging through mud and debris on Friday to retrieve more bodies strewn by a powerful typhoon across a farming valley in the southern Philippines. The death toll from the storm has surpassed 500, with more than 400 people missing.

More than 310,000 people have lost their homes since Typhoon Bopha struck on Tuesday and are crowded inside evacuation centers or staying with relatives, relying on food and emergency supplies rushed in by government agencies and aid groups.

“I want to know how this tragedy happened and how to prevent a repeat,” President Benigno Aquino III said during a visit to New Bataan town, the ground zero of the disaster, where ferocious winds and rains lashed the area.

Officials have confirmed 252 dead in Compostela Valley, including New Bataan, and 216 in nearby Davao Oriental province. Nearly 40 others died elsewhere, and more than 400 are still missing, about two-thirds in New Bataan alone.

Aquino told New Bataan residents gathered in the middle of toppled coconut trees and roofless houses that he was bent on seeking answers in order to improve their conditions and minimize casualties when natural disasters occur.

Fatal storms and typhoons blowing from the Pacific Ocean are common in the Philippines, but most of them hit northern and central areas, and southern Mindanao Island is usually spared.

“We are going to look at what really happened. There are allegations of illegal mining. There are allegations of the force of nature,” said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who traveled with Aquino. “We will find out why there are homes in these geohazard locations.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Eastern European gangs smuggle nuclear materials, seek terrorist clients
  2. U.S. allies in Syria struck by Russians
  3. Mexico’s army chief denies troops involved in massacre
  4. EU offers to ease Turkey’s refugee burden
  5. Criminal investigation at United Nations snares one of its former presidents
  6. Abbas appeals for end to chaos with Israel
  7. Canadian, Japanese physicists win Nobel for neutrino work
  8. Military turns to rebels in hunt for warlord
  9. 3 share Nobel medicine prize for new tools to kill parasites
  10. Portuguese austerity measures unlikely to hurt continued dominance of moderates in vote
  11. 3 share Nobel medicine prize for tropical disease drugs