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Typhoon Bopha slams Philippines south, destroys homes, one dead

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Tue, 4 Dec 2012 04:41 GMT
Author: Reuters
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MANILA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Typhoon Bopha, the strongest tropical storm to hit the Philippines this year, slammed into a southern island on Tuesday, destroying homes, cutting power and forcing the cancellation of flights and ferry services, officials said.

Bopha, with wind gusts of up to 195 kph (121 mph), 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 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's fury in December 2011 after she was washed out to sea after flash floods swept entire coastal villages in Cagayan 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 500 kms (310 miles), was moving west-northwest and was expected to move out to South China Sea by Thursday, weather forecasters said

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Michael Perry)

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