Philippines typhoon 'kills dozens'

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Media captionThe BBC's Kate McGeown: "This was a truly massive storm"

More than 40 people have been killed after a powerful typhoon swept across the southern Philippines, according to local media reports.

Typhoon Bopha made landfall on Mindanao, bringing heavy rain and wind gusts of 210 km/h (130mph) and forcing 40,000 people to be evacuated.

The storm has also caused power cuts, travel disruption and flooding in areas at risk of landslides.

The mining province of Compostela Valley was among the worst affected.

At least 43 people died and 25 were reported injured when torrents of water rushed down a mountain on to Andap village in the valley, local news sources reported.

The region's governor, Arturo Uy, said the victims included villagers sheltering in the village hall which was engulfed by the waters. An army truck carrying soldiers and civilians was also swept away.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said that it had reports of four additional confirmed deaths. Three of those who died had been hit by trees and one person had drowned, it said.

Flights suspended

Benito Ramos, of the national disaster agency, said the death toll was expected to rise once soldiers and police gained access to the far-flung villages isolated by floods, fallen trees and damaged communications.

According to one report, quoting a military spokesman, about 20 people including six soldiers were missing after fast-moving water swept through an army base.

The eye of the 600-km wide storm was moving west at 26 km/h and was expected to sweep over southern and central provinces before reaching the South China Sea on Thursday, forecasters said.

Dozens of domestic flights and ferry services in the central and south of the country were suspended and schools and businesses were closed.

Bopha comes a year after Typhoon Washi killed more than 1,500 people in the southern Philippines.

President Benigno Aquino had urged people in the typhoon's path to take Bopha seriously. The evacuations had prevented the toll being higher, officials said.

"It could be the strongest to hit the country this year," he said. "But we can minimise the damage and loss of lives if we help each other," Mr Aquino said on Monday.

The Philippines is struck by several typhoons and tropical storms every year.

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