Philippine typhoon death toll exceeds 1,000

Rescue teams scramble to search for 844 people who remain missing in flood-swept mountainside towns in Mindanao.
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2012 16:41
Authorities in the worst-affected regions are less optimistic of finding any survivors [Reuters]

The death toll from a typhoon that devastated mountainous and coastal towns in the southern Philippines this month has risen to more than 1,000.

The ferocious winds and flash floods of Typhoon Bopha led to the mounting death toll, which included hundreds of fishermen and villagers.

A spokesman Benito Ramos, who heads the government's main disaster-response agency, said Sunday that previously unreported deaths have brought the toll wrought by Typhoon Bopha to 1,020.

Rescue teams and International aid groups are still searching for those who went missing in flood-swept mountainside towns and will continue through the Christmas.

Ramos said army troops, police and government personnel have cancelled Christmas celebrations to help survivors deal with losses and search for missing loved ones particularly the worst-hit provinces of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley in Mindanao.

A total of 844 people still remain missing. Half of them are believed to be fishermen who ventured out to sea before Bopha hit.

Ramos said he feared many of the missing were already dead.

"The death toll will go higher. We found a lot of bodies yesterday, buried under fallen logs and debris," Ramos told the AFP news agency.

"We prepared. We were just simply overwhelmed."

He also said that the typhoon was far more intense than anticipated.

The storm has caused massive damage to infrastructure and agriculture, destroying large tracts of coconut and banana trees.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council initially estimated damage to crops and public infrastructure at 7.16bn pesos ($174m).


Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.