Philippines Typhoon Death Toll Reaches 477

Manila, Dec 6 (Prensa Latina) Philippine authorities counted around 477 deaths and 250,000 people displaced from their homes by Thursday after typhoon Bopha, said to be the worst of the season in the archipelago.

We expect an increase in the number of deaths, because the rescue teams have reported at least 400 missing people in the southern and central areas of the country, said Benito Ramos, director of the Management and Natural-Disaster Risk Reduction Council.

The number of victims reached 294,110, out of which 250,511 are still in 544 shelters, he said.

Philippine Social Welfare and Development Minister Corazon Soliman said the most serious problem is lack of medicines, dry clothes and tents.

Bopha crossed the island of Mindanao at the beginning of this week and devastated entire towns with hurricane winds of 120 kilometers per hour and heavy rains that caused floods and landslides.

The local Administration of Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomic Services said Bopha was the strongest typhoon that has crossed the southern Philippine area in the last 20 years.

The authorities asserted on Thursday that vast southern areas of Mindanao and central Visayas are in a state of emergency, with hundreds of villages flooded and numerous roads blocked by flooding.