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More than 600 dead after Typhoon Bopha hits Philippines

The 3 m (10 ft) bronze sculpture entitled "Brothers in Arms" highlights the Filipino-American Friendship Park on the island of Corregidor. The park lies directly behind the Pacific War Memorial. (Photo and caption: CIA World Fact Book)International media are reporting more than 600 people have died and approximately 480,000 have been displaced after Typhoon Bopha hit the southern part of the Philippines. International relief agencies are asking for funding to help the victims.

The storm hit on December 4, devastating banana plantations, small farms and private dwellings.

One aid worker told al Jazeera, "People live in fragile housing and when storms like this hit … it wipes out entire communities."

The Philippines are in a Typhoon Belt.  According to the CIA World Fact Book, “[The Philippines are] usually affected by 15 and struck by five to six cyclonic storms each year.” The WFB also noted the area is prone to “landslides, active volcanoes…and destructive earthquakes...tsunamis.” Deforestation is an underlying factor in many natural disasters.

Officials said authorities were unprepared for the storm.

Filipino forces fought alongside U.S. soldiers during World War II to regain control of the country from Japan. Japan attacked the Philippines immediately after the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

In the wake of Typhoon Bopha, the UN has asked for $65 million in emergency aid. Part of the aid would be used to “help rehabilitate the agricultural sector.”

Scant media coverage on the crisis has been delivered stateside.

(Filed by Kay B. Day/Dec. 10, 2012)


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