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|9:05PM EST December 6. 2012 - NEW BATAAN, Philippines (AP) — Authorities say the death toll from a strong typhoon that hit the Philippines has risen to about 420 people and nearly 400 are missing.|
Most of the confirmed dead from Typhoon Bopha lived in a steep valley in the country's south where flooding was so widespread that places people thought were safe, including two emergency shelters, became among the deadliest.
Authorities said about 215 victims died in Compostela Valley and more than 151 died in nearby Davao Oriental province, with the rest were in other central and southern provinces. The typhoon hit with winds of 175 kph (109 mph) on Tuesday. It was weakening Friday in the South China Sea and expected to dissipate by the weekend.
The Philippine government's geological hazard maps show why this farming community was largely washed away by a strong typhoon: "highly susceptible to flooding and landslides." That didn't stop some villagers from rebuilding even with bodies still lying under the mud.
Most of the about 420 people confirmed dead from Typhoon Bopha were killed in the steep valley that includes New Bataan, a town crisscrossed by rivers and cleared from lush hillsides by banana, coconut, cocoa and mango farmers in 1968. Flooding was so widespread here that places people thought were safe, including two emergency shelters, became among the deadliest.