By Ellen Cruz –
MANILA, Philippines — More than 50 people were killed Tuesday, and some 57,000 displaced, as Typhoon Bopha hit the southern Philippines, with strong winds and heavy rains also ripping apart power lines, roofing and trees.
The typhoon, the country’s strongest this year, made landfall at the town of Baganga on the eastern side of Mindanao island before 5 a.m. local time.
With rescue efforts still under way, there was no confirmation of the overall death toll.
The governor of Compostela Valley province said 34 people died in the town of New Bataan due to flashfloods, while the military placed the number at 43.
A reporter from ANC news channel who reached New Bataan reported seeing 43 corpses lined up on the ground. The reporter said a nearby military camp was swept away by flooding.
Authorities said 23 people died in Cateel, located in Davao Oriental province.
At least 57,000 people have moved into some 1,000 government shelters across the island for fear of flash floods and landslides, the civil defense office said.
Local authorities suspended schools and halted shipping in the central Visayas region and Mindanao, while about 100 domestic flights were cancelled. Many areas have no electricity.
The typhoon saw sustained winds of 115 mph hour, gusts of up to 130 mph and heavy rain, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said.
The Philippines are battered by around 20 typhoons a year, some of them highly destructive. Bopha is the 16th this year.