Typhoon Bopha slams the Philippines

Residents saw an uprooted tree to clear the road after Typhoon Bopha hit Tagum City, in the...
Residents saw an uprooted tree to clear the road after Typhoon Bopha hit Tagum City, in the southern Philippines. The typhoon forced 41,600 in coastal areas to flee their homes. Photo by Reuters.

Typhoon Bopha, the strongest tropical storm to hit the Philippines this year, slammed into a southern island, destroying homes, cutting power and forcing the cancellation of flights and ferry services, officials said.

Bopha, with wind gusts of up to 195 kmh made landfall at dawn, uprooting trees, tearing off roofs, and toppling power and communication lines.

"There goes my house," Landring Ceballos, a fisherman in Davao Oriental province told reporters as he watched in horror as winds lifted his makeshift house and dumped it in the sea.

There was only one confirmed death, but local media said people were injured by flying debris and falling trees.

About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, often causing death and destruction. Typhoon Washi killed 1500 people on Mindanao in 2011.

"We have suffered enough," Felicitas Cabusao said, clutching a Holy Rosary beside her crying 12-year-old daughter.

Cabusao said her daughter survived typhoon Washi's fury in December 2011 after she was washed out to sea after flash floods swept entire coastal villages inCagayan de Oro City.

Dozens of domestic flights and ferry services in central and southern Philippines were suspended, schools and some businesses were closed as police and fire engine sirens wailed, warning people to move to higher ground.

Ceballos and nearly 40,000 residents in coastal areas on Mindanao's easternmost provinces were evacuated to safer areas eight hours before Bopha made landfall.

Bopha, with a storm cloud covering of 500kms, was moving west-northwest and was expected to move out to South China Sea by Thursday (local time), weather forecasters said.


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