Typhoon leaves 540 dead, 827 missing in Philippines

2012-12-09 03:59:27 GMT2012-12-09 11:59:27(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

The death toll from Typhoon Bopha ( locally known as Pablo) has climbed to 540 and 827 others are still missing, official statistics released Sunday showed.

Authorities feared the number of fatalities from Typhoon Bopha could surpass 1,000 as almost 600 bodies have been recovered in southern Philippines.

Besides, Typhoon Bopha made a U turn, veering back to northern Luzon. The typhoon center was located 85 km away from Laoag city in Ilocos Sur province as of 4 a.m. Sunday, said a report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) released Sunday morning.

Citing consolidated report as of 5 a.m., NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said that the number of missing people had increased to 827.

He said a total of 1,088 people were also injured from the typhoon.

The total number of the affected population is now pegged at 1. 09 million families or 5.40 million persons. Among them, 77,192 families or 368,672 persons were housed in 173 government-run evacuation centers, Ramos said. "Bodies are turning up everywhere and the stench has become almost unbearable," Captain Raul Villegas, information officer of the army's 10th Infantry Division, told Xinhua by mobile phone.

The military official said army and police sniffer dogs are helping rescuers locate more bodies."The chance of finding more survivors is becoming thin by every hour, so we have to double our efforts."

Uy, governor of the hardest-hit Compostela Valley, said 1.2 million pesos (30,000 U.S. dollars) assistance from local and foreign donors, including China, coursed through the Red Cross have greatly helped in relieving people's misery.

However, due to the lack of relief goods in Mindanao towns, hungry survivors looted shops and warehouses to get food and drinks, local media reported.

Official statistics showed damages to agriculture, infrastructure and private properties stood at 6.08 billion pesos (148.6 million U.S. dollars).

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday declared a state of national calamity to speed up the release of government funds for relief and reconstruction in all areas devastated by the storm.

Typhoon Bopha may still make landfall in Ilocos Norte on Sunday, state weather bureau said.

Storm Warning Signal No. 2 is now up over Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and La Union provinces in northern Luzon region, while Signal No. 1 has been hoisted over Cagayan, the Batanes Group of Islands, Abra Apayao, Mt. Province, Benguet and Pangasinan provinces. These regions are expected to have rainfall amount from 15 to 25 mm per hour within the 300-km diameter of the storm Sunday.

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