An intense typhoon thumped into the southern Philippines on Tuesday, destroying homes, setting off a landslide and killing more than two dozen people, authorities said.
Typhoon Bopha struck the large southern island of Mindanao, which is rarely in the direct path of tropical cyclones, fueling fears that it could be as devastating as a storm that killed more than 1,200 people there almost a year ago.
Bopha, the most powerful typhoon to hit Mindanao in decades, had top winds of 175 kph (110 mph) as it came ashore over the city of Baganga early Tuesday. Millions of people, many of whom live in remote and unprepared communities, were in the storm’s path, Philippine authorities and aid groups said.
“It really is getting to be a very, very big typhoon and it’s just starting,” said Richard Gordon, the head of the Philippine Red Cross.
Trees have been uprooted and fragile houses blown away on Mindanao, Gordon said, adding that the corrugated iron roofs of some buildings were being carried through the air by the wind like “flying machetes.”
At least 27 people have been killed so far as a result of the storm, according to the Philippines News Agency, the country’s official news outlet. PNA said the typhoon has affected more than 57,000 people, demolished houses and stranded people in two Mindanao regions and parts of the Visaya islands.
More than 56,000 people are in evacuation centers, said Lt. Col. Perfecto Penaredondo, military assistant within the country’s Office of Defense.
A landslide in eastern Mindanao blocked a national highway, the news agency reported, leavening hundreds of people in buses, vans and cars stuck on the road.
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