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Typhoon leaves 902 people dead in Philippines

Philippine death toll rises to 902 after Typhoon Bopha; 80,000 homeless, Dec. 18, 2012

Typhoon Bopha killed more than 900 people and left almost 80,000 others homeless in the Philippines, the government said Thursday, a week and a half after the storm devastated large parts of the southeast Asian island nation.

The death toll, which the government set Thursday at 902, is likely to rise significantly, as 934 other people remained unaccounted for. More than 2,600 people were injured.

"I am saddened and bothered by the devastation brought about by Typhoon Pablo," President Benigno Aquino III said, using the name the storm was given locally. "But it is in situations like this that our strength as a nation is measured. We will rise as one nation again."

Bopha tore through the main southern island of Mindanao on Dec. 3 before crossing the central Philippines and stalling over the South China Sea. Most of the deaths were in the Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental province on Mindanao.

Ten days later, almost 80,000 people remained in evacuation centers scattered across the islands, because Bopha destroyed 61,000 homes and seriously damaged 88,000 others, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported.

The United Nations issued a worldwide appeal for $65 million in aid for the Philippines, where the storm caused damage of more than 14.3 billion pesos — about $350 million. 

Aquino said his government was drawing up plans for forced relocation of entire communities that are within "geohazard" areas mapped out by the national mining bureau. 

"The communities will be moved to safer areas," he said, according to the Pilippines Daily Inquirer. "In certain instances, we really can't wait for all the consultations to be over before we transfer them."