UPDATE 2-Typhoon hits south Philippines, 40 dead or missing - media

Reuters Middle East

(Updates with media reporting about 40 dead or missing)

MANILA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The strongest typhoon to hit the

Philippines this year pounded the southern island of Mindanao on

Tuesday and about 40 people were dead or missing, media said,

after the storm destroyed homes and brought down power and

communication lines.

Typhoon Bopha, with wind gusts of up to 195 kph (121 mph),

made landfall at dawn, uprooting trees and tearing off roofs.

About 40 people were killed or missing in flash floods and

landslides near a mining area on Mindanao, ABS-CBN television

reported, saying waters and soil had swept through an army post.

A television reporter said she saw numerous bodies lined up

near the army base. A military spokesman earlier said about 20

people, including six soldiers, were missing.

Disaster official Liza Mazo, said more casualties were

expected to be discovered as search and rescue teams fanned out.

Media said dozens of people were injured by flying debris,

falling trees and swept away by swollen rivers and flash floods.

But the relatively low death toll was due in part to an

early evacuation. More than 155,000 people were in shelters late

on Tuesday.

About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, often

causing death and destruction. Typhoon Washi killed 1,500 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, almost

exactly a year ago, after she was washed out to sea when flash

floods swept away entire coastal villages.

Dozens of domestic flights and ferry services in the central

and southern Philippines were suspended on Tuesday. Schools and

some businesses were closed.

Bopha, with a storm cloud covering of 500 km (310 miles),

was moving west-northwest and was expected to move out into the

South China Sea by Thursday.

Farm Minister Proceso Alcala said on Monday he expected

minimal damage to rice and corn crops as they had only recently

been planted and could be replaced quickly if damaged.

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Nick Macfie and Robert


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