Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


350 dead in Philippine tycoon, 40 missing

06 December 2012, 08:51

New Bataan - A powerful typhoon that washed away emergency shelters, a military camp and possibly entire families in the southern Philippines has killed almost 350 people with nearly 400 missing, authorities said on Thursday.

More bodies were retrieved from hardest-hit Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental provinces and six others impacted by Tuesday's storm, the Office of Civil Defence reported.

At least 200 of the victims died in Compostela Valley alone, including 78 villagers and soldiers who perished in a flash flood that swamped two emergency shelters and a military camp.

"Entire families may have been washed away," said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who visited New Bataan on Wednesday.

The farming town of 45 000 people was a muddy wasteland of collapsed houses and coconut and banana trees felled by ferocious winds.

Woman’s children missing

Bodies of victims were laid on the ground for viewing by people searching for missing relatives. Some were badly mangled after being dragged by raging floodwaters over rocks and other debris. A man sprayed insecticide on the remains to keep away swarms of flies.

A father wept when he found the body of his child after lifting a plastic cover. A mother, meanwhile, went away in tears, unable to find her missing children.

"I have three children," she said repeatedly, flashing three fingers before a TV cameraman.

Two men carried the mud-caked body of an unidentified girl that was covered with coconut leaves on a makeshift stretcher made from a blanket and wooden poles.

Dionisia Requinto, 43, felt lucky to have survived with her husband and their eight children after swirling flood waters surrounded their home.

She said they escaped and made their way up a hill to safety, bracing themselves against boulders and fallen trees as they climbed.

"The water rose so fast," she told The Associated Press. "It was horrible. I thought it was going to be our end."

Evacuation centres damaged

In nearby Davao Oriental, the coastal province first struck by Typhoon Bopha as it blew from the Pacific Ocean, at least 115 people perished, mostly in three towns so battered that it was hard to find any buildings with roofs remaining, provincial officer Freddie Bendulo and other officials said.

"We had a problem where to take the evacuees. All the evacuation centres have lost their roofs," Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon said.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies issued an urgent appeal for $4.8m to help people directly affected by the typhoon.

The sun shone brightly for most of the day on Wednesday, prompting residents to lay their soaked clothes, books and other belongings out on roadsides to dry and revealing the extent of the damage to farmland.

Thousands of banana trees in one Compostela Valley plantation were toppled by the wind, the young bananas still wrapped in blue plastic covers.

But as night fell, however, rain started pouring again over New Bataan, triggering panic among some residents who feared a repeat of the previous day's flash floods. Some carried whatever belongings they could as they hurried to nearby towns or higher ground.

Typhoon headed to China or Vietnam

After slamming into Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, Bopha roared quickly across the southern Mindanao and central regions, knocking out power in two entire provinces, triggering landslides and leaving houses and plantations damaged. More than 170 000 fled to evacuation centres.

On Thursday, the typhoon was over the South China Sea west of Palawan province. It was blowing north-westward and could be headed to Vietnam or southern China, according to government forecasters.

The deaths came despite efforts by President Benigno Aquino III's government to force residents out of high-risk communities as the typhoon approached.

Some 20 typhoons and storms lash the northern and central Philippines each year, but they rarely hit the vast southern Mindanao region where sprawling export banana plantations have been planted over the decades because it seldom experiences strong winds that could blow down the trees.

A rare storm in the south last December killed more than 1 200 people and left many more homeless.

The United States extended its condolences and offered to help its Asian ally deal with the typhoon's devastation. It praised government efforts to minimize the deaths and damage.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...