Philippines typhoon death toll 'likely to hit 1,500'

The death toll from a typhoon that devastated the Philippines earlier this month will likely hit 1,500, making it the second deadliest since the country began keeping records, the civil defence chief said on Saturday.

Benito Ramos said that so far they had counted 1,067 dead with more than 800 still missing after Typhoon Bopha hit the southern island of Mindanao on December 4.

"It (the death toll) will go higher. But let us not assume the missing are already dead," he told AFP, estimating fatalities at "about 1,500" but adding that the search for the missing continued.

The toll from Typhoon Bopha is expected to easily exceed the 1,268 confirmed dead after Typhoon Washi struck the southern Philippines in December 2011, he said.

If the toll reaches 1,500 it would make it the second deadliest storm to hit the Philippines since 1947, when the Philippines began keeping records a year after independence.

Typhoon Thelma, which killed at least 5,101 in 1991, remains the deadliest on record, the government statistics bureau said. Typhoon Ike, which claimed 1,363 lives in 1984, is listed as second.

Thousands of people remain homeless after Typhoon Bopha brought flash floods that wiped out whole towns.

However Ramos expressed confidence there would be no rise in health problems as the government had brought enough food and medicine to care for those affected.

"It will be contained. the government presence is felt by the people already," he said.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 major storms or typhoons each year that occur mainly during the rainy season between June and October.

  • 2015 Nissan Murano aims for the style-forward crowd 4 hours ago
    2015 Nissan Murano aims for the style-forward crowd

    Nissan says its 2015 Murano crossover, only the second major revamp of the car since it debuted in 2003, draws its design cues from the “age of future space flight.” That’s probably taking it a little far, but the new Murano, based off the 2013 Resonance concept vehicle, is an exceptionally lovely machine, all fluid, curved metal on the outside, and flowing, soft-touch materials on the inside. Certain kinds of comfort and charms that were unheard-of outside of premium vehicles five years ago have definitely trickled down, and reached a kind of design apotheosis with this car.

  • Volkswagen brings new (ish) Jetta to New York along with Golf Sportwagen 7 hours ago
    Volkswagen brings new (ish) Jetta to New York along with Golf Sportwagen

    With its new President and CEO of America, Michael Horn, on stage in New York after just 100 days on the job, Volkswagen debuted its 2015 Jetta. You'd be forgiven for noticing little differences compared to the outgoing model, and in the words of Horn himself, the changes are indeed subtle. The most notable of those subtleties is the all-new 2.0 liter turbo diesel motor, offering 45 mpg highway and a modest increase of 10 hp. For VW, diesel is where it's at.

  • With Vantage GT, Aston Martin races below $100,000 7 hours ago
    With Vantage GT, Aston Martin races below $100,000

    Aston Martin is going downmarket, sort of. The 2015 Vantage GT, a sport-styled variant of Aston’s legendary flagship car, draws style and performance tips from their GT4 race cars, which will be running in North America this year. It’s also priced at $99,900, which shows that the market for these kinds of consumer sports cars has boomed in recent years.