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Natural Disasters

Typhoon Bopha displaces thousands in the Philippines

At least 40 people have been killed, and some 56,000 displaced, after a typhoon hit the southern Philippines. The typhoon’s strong winds and heavy rains also ripped apart power lines, roofing and trees.

Typhoon Bopha, the country's strongest this year, made landfall on the east coast of Mindanao island at dawn on Tuesday (2100 GMT Monday) with wind gusts of up to 210 kilometers (130 miles) an hour.

With rescue efforts still underway, the civil defense office said four persons were confirmed dead, although unconfirmed reports suggested that at least 40 people had been killed.

Governor Arturo Uy of Compostela Valley province in Eastern Mindanao told ANC news channel that in his province 34 people died due to flash flooding.

But a reporter from ANC who reached New Bataan town in Compostela Valley reported a higher number - 43 people - had been killed. The dead included one soldier. A nearby military camp was swept away by flooding, according to the reporter.

The death toll is likely to rise as official have not yet reached several villages hit by major flooding.

Television footage showed logs being swept down Mindanao's Sumilao river, and utility workers cutting up fallen trees that were blocking highways.

They also showed large numbers of people lying on mats and cardboard sheets on the concrete floors of gyms turned into temporary shelters.

A total of 146 flights to and from Mindanao and the central islands had been grounded since Monday night and more than 3,000 ferry passengers were stranded as vessels were ordered to stay in port, according to the civil defense update.

Large parts of Mindanao, which is not normally hit by typhoons, were still without electricity on Tuesday night, it said.

hc/kms (AFP, dpa)