At least 200 people are now believed to have been killed in the southern Philippines by Typhoon Bopha, and 70 per cent of the agricultural land in the area is said to have been damaged.
Compostela Valley province, in eastern Mindanao, is the area worst hit, where mudslides engulfed a school and a village hall being used as evacuation centres. Among those killed or missing are soldiers who had gone to help. Rescue efforts are being hampered because many roads are blocked by fallen trees and collapsed bridges.
In December last year, Typhoon Washi killed more than 1,300 people in the Southern Philippines. Bopha is actually stronger than its deadly predecessor, but this time people were better prepared thanks to the media, telephone warnings, early evacuations and a special website.
The death toll has also been reduced because Bopha had slowed down a little before it hit some particularly vulnerable areas. The deadliest ever typhoon to hit the Philippines is believed to have been Thelma which killed up to 8,000 people in November 1991. (See also my blogs of 28 Sept and 10 Oct, 2009; and 6 Jan 2011.)