(Updates with media reporting about 40 dead or missing)
MANILA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The strongest typhoon to hit the
Philippines this year pounded the southern island of Mindanao on
Tuesday and about 40 people were dead or missing, media said,
after the storm destroyed homes and brought down power and
Typhoon Bopha, with wind gusts of up to 195 kph (121 mph),
made landfall at dawn, uprooting trees and tearing off roofs.
About 40 people were killed or missing in flash floods and
landslides near a mining area on Mindanao, ABS-CBN television
reported, saying waters and soil had swept through an army post.
A television reporter said she saw numerous bodies lined up
near the army base. A military spokesman earlier said about 20
people, including six soldiers, were missing.
Disaster official Liza Mazo, said more casualties were
expected to be discovered as search and rescue teams fanned out.
Media said dozens of people were injured by flying debris,
falling trees and swept away by swollen rivers and flash floods.
But the relatively low death toll was due in part to an
early evacuation. More than 155,000 people were in shelters late
About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, often
causing death and destruction. Typhoon Washi killed 1,500 people
on Mindanao in 2011.
"We have suffered enough," Felicitas Cabusao said, clutching
a Holy Rosary beside her crying 12-year-old daughter.
Cabusao said her daughter survived Typhoon Washi, almost
exactly a year ago, after she was washed out to sea when flash
floods swept away entire coastal villages.
Dozens of domestic flights and ferry services in the central
and southern Philippines were suspended on Tuesday. Schools and
some businesses were closed.
Bopha, with a storm cloud covering of 500 km (310 miles),
was moving west-northwest and was expected to move out into the
South China Sea by Thursday.
Farm Minister Proceso Alcala said on Monday he expected
minimal damage to rice and corn crops as they had only recently
been planted and could be replaced quickly if damaged.
(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Nick Macfie and Robert