Over 200,000 homeless in wake of Typhoon Bopha

• December 6, 2012
Typhoon Bopha NASA Creative Commons

Creative Commons: NASA

Nearly 200,000 people are homeless and at least 313 dead after Typhoon Bopha swept across the south of the country.

Civil defence chief Benito Ramos said the government’s priority was to find 379 people still missing and to build temporary shelters for more than 179,000 others who have been given temporary shelter in schools and government buildings.

The Office of Civil Defence said on Thursday that more bodies had been retrieved from the hardest-hit provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, as well as six other provinces, raising the death toll to 313.

Typhoon Bopha ploughed across the major southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday, flattening nearly everything across its 700-kilometre wide path with a blend of hurricane-force winds, floods and landslides.

Al Jazeera’s Marga Ortigas, reporting from Compostela Valley, said there had been massive destruction to infrastructure and agriculture in the region, with authorities saying about 80 per cent of the crops planted had been destroyed.

She said rescuers were using helicopters in the search for survivors as wet mud was hindering access for rescue teams on the ground.

At least 200 of the victims died in Compostela Valley alone when the storm struck, including 78 villagers and soldiers who perished in a flash flood that swamped two emergency shelters and a military camp.

“Entire families may have been washed away,” said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who visited New Bataan on Wednesday.

Read more: Al Jazeera

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Karl Burkart is the Digital Communications Director for the GCCA, the Global Call for Climate Action, and TckTckTck, a network of 400+ diverse organizations working around the world for greater action on the growing problem of climate change. Karl also blogs on technology and the environment for a variety of publications. You can follow him on Twitter @greendig.

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