Hope fades for typhoon Bopha survivors

2012-12-11 08:30
Manila - Rescuers were losing hope on Tuesday of finding nearly 900 people missing after a typhoon struck the southern Philippines last week, killing 714 people.

Typhoon Bopha, the strongest cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, slammed into the southern region of Mindanao on 4 December, triggering widespread floods and landslides that wiped out entire villages.

Rescuers have not found survivors for the past three days, and officials said they feared they would discover only bodies one week after the typhoon.

"We can no longer say that we can recover many survivors," said Major General Ariel Bernardo, an army division commander overseeing the emergency operations. "What we may recover are bodies."

"There is little chance" of finding more survivors, he said.

The Office of Civil Defence said 890 people were still reported missing from the disaster while 714 were confirmed killed in the floods and landslides. More than 1 900 were injured and 110 rescued.

More than 5.4 million people were affected by the typhoon, including 116 404 residents staying in cramped evacuation centres.

On Monday, the United Nations appealed for $65m in emergency aid to provide food, water and emergency shelter to the victims.

Bopha damaged infrastructure and agriculture worth more than $173m, including more than 70 000 homes and several banana plantations, the Office of Civil Defence said.

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