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Typhoon Bopha Kills 74 In Philippines


Residents saw an uprooted tree to clear the road after Typhoon Bopha hit Tagum City, southern Philippines December 4, 2012.

Residents saw an uprooted tree to clear the road after Typhoon Bopha hit Tagum City, southern Philippines December 4, 2012.

A powerful typhoon has caused floods and set off mudslides that killed at least 74 people in the Philippines and forced thousands to flee their homes.

Typhoon Bopha, the strongest storm to hit the nation this year made landfall on the east coast of Mindanao island early Tuesday packing winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour that toppled trees and cut power lines. Floods swept away an army truck full of soldiers many of whom drowned.

Some 41,000 residents were evacuated to government shelters ahead of the landfall. At least 80 domestic flights have been cancelled, while ships were ordered to stay in port..

Joe Curry, the head of Catholic Relief Services in the Philippines, said authorities seem more prepared to deal with this storm compared to last year's Tropical Storm Washi, which killed more than 1,200 people.

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"So far there's been more preparedness efforts at this time, but I think we're going to see the damage [reports] come out later today and tomorrow," said Curry. "I know there's been a lot of efforts at evacuating, but we'll have to see how the infrastructure holds up."

Forecasters say the storm is expected to weaken and move into the South China Sea by Thursday. Philippines authorities say they have stockpiled food supplies and rescue equipment in the storm's predicted path.

During last year's Tropical Storm Washi in December 2011, major flash floods and landslides wiped out entire villages on Mindanao. The archipelago country is vulnerable to severe flooding caused by heavy rains and tsunamis.

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