The Slatest

Hundreds Dead After Powerful Typhoon Rocks Philippines

Residents from a nearby village with their belongings evacuate to a safer place in the village of Andap, New Bataan town, Compostela Valley province on December 5, 2012, a day after the powerful Typhoon Bopha hit the province

Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images.

A powerful typhoon has left hundreds dead and thousands more without homes in the southern Philippines. Officials and first-responders peg the current count at 274 confirmed dead and another 339 injured, but those numbers are certain to grow given rescue teams are still trying to navigate destroyed roads, washed away bridge and downed power lines to reach many villages.

Tyhoon Bopha made landfall on Tuesday with central winds of 75 mph and gusts of up to 93 mph, triggering landslides and floods along the coast and in farming and mining towns inland. More than 20 serious tropical storms hit the Philippines every year. Bopha, however, was unusual in that this time of year is not generally considered typhoon season and it took an unusual path, striking remote inland communities not accustomed to such strong storms.

The governor of worst hit province, Compostela Valley, on the island of Mindanao, told Reuters that waves of water and mud came crashing down mountains and swept through schools, town halls, and clinics where huddled residents sought shelter. “The waters came so suddenly and unexpectedly, and the winds were so fierce,” said the governor, Arthur Uy.