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Thousands flee typhoon in Mindanao

Two deaths as storm makes landfall

Thousands flee typhoon in Mindanao
Strong winds brought by typhoon Bopha cause electrical posts to lean in the city of Tagum in Mindanao (Dennis Jay C. Santos) reporter, Manila

December 4, 2012

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Thousands of people fled their homes as Typhoon Bopha made landfall in the southern Philippines today.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that as of this morning total, local time, 8,283 families or 41,608 individuals in Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao, and Caraga regions had fled to evacuation centers.

Schools and businesses were closed as authorities warned people to move to higher ground to escape flashfloods from the year’s most powerful storm to date.

At least 3,000 passengers were stranded in seaports around the country. Airline companies also announced that over 80 domestic flights were grounded due to bad weather.

Two people were killed in Mindanao after being hit by falling trees, according to official reports.

A power outage prompted residents in Cagayan de Oro City to flock to hotels while others took shelter in nearby shopping centers.

Several foreign embassies have advised their nationals to monitor the typhoon's track and take heed of Philippine officials' advisories.

"In the event the typhoon affects where you live, locate shelter, monitor media reports, and follow all official instructions," the US told its nationals in an advisory today.
Environmental group Kalikasan called on government agencies to be on "red alert" for the typhoon's impact on vulnerable communities, especially in mining areas.

Clemente Bautista Jr., the group's president, said mining disasters in the past occurred during periods of heavy rains, which Typhoon Bopha is expected to bring. 

The group also warned communities to prepare for the threats posed by the tropical storm.
The typhoon with wind gusts of up to 195 kph made landfall at dawn and is expected to leave the Philippines by Friday.

The Philippines is visited by around 19 typhoons each year, which can trigger heavy flooding in large areas in the country. Last year, Typhoon Washi killed 1,500 people on Mindanao.


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