Typhoon death toll at 327 in Philippines

Dec. 6, 2012 at 8:37 AM

NEW BATAAN, Philippines, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Typhoon Bopha moved northwest of the Philippines Thursday one day after ravaging the island nation, leaving 327 dead and 380 missing, officials said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said about a quarter of a million people are homeless after the most powerful typhoon in decades ripped through the country Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Category 5 storm, measuring more than 500 miles in diameter, roared onto the densely populated Mindanao island Tuesday with sustained winds of 110 mph, forcing more than 50,000 people out of their homes and into shelters.

The storm, known locally as "Pablo," sent roofs flying, uprooted acres of coconut trees, and sent rivers and streams bursting over their banks.

One of the hardest hit towns was New Bataan, which President Benigno Aquino III plans to visit Friday to oversee the distribution of aid, the official Philippine News Agency reported.

Arnaldo Arcadio, an emergency response program manager for humanitarian group Catholic Relief Services, told CNN about 90 percent to 95 percent of homes in New Bataan were destroyed or damaged by Bopha.

"The mood is really gloomy," he said, noting that the biggest concern for the town is obtaining drinkable water. "They are just trying to survive."

Eighty-five people in the town died and about 340 are still unaccounted for suggesting the death toll might rise further.

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