Philippines typhoon toll nears 500

Philippines typhoon toll nears 500

Philippines typhoon toll nears 500

Updated 6 December 2012, 17:41 AEDT

The Philippines military says the death toll from this week's deadly typhoon now stands at 475.

Typhoon Bopha, also known locally as Pablo, ploughed across Mindanao, flattening whole towns in its 700-kilometre wide path with a deadly blend of hurricane-force winds, floods and landslides, leaving nearly 200,000 homeless.

Rescuers are trying to reach towns isolated by flash floods and landslides during the onslaught of Typhoon Bopha.

They've managed to get into areas cut off by typhoon Bopha in the southern Compostela Valley ,where the coastal town of New Bataan was found in devastation.

Other areas remain isolated - like the towns of Boston, Cateel and Baganga, in nearby Davao province, which authorities say they will try to reach on Thursday.

Body bags have been sent to New Bataan where dead bodies have been placed in sacks or covered merely by banana leaves.

President Benigno Aquino has ordered the release of $US200 million for relief operations, and will visit devastated areas in the next two days.

Surviving on coconuts

Rescue workers have found a 77-year-old man alive on Thursday who had survived on coconuts for two days in the wake of the Typhoon.

A group of rescue volunteers lifted Carlos Agang to safety after they found him, in a tattered shirt with a fractured leg and bruises, clinging to a boulder by a river in New Bataan town in Compostela Valley, the province worst hit by typhoon Botha.

"I can't believe it. I didn't expect to see people survive two days after they were swept by flood and mud," fire volunteer Mark Roman Jumilla said.

Rescuers also found a pregnant woman on the other side of the river with her one-year son - they escaped floods that swamped their house after typhoon Bopha hit land on Tuesday.

"It happened so fast. Water came rushing to us while we were leaving our house to move to safer grounds," Lenlen Medrano, 23, said.

"I prayed hard over and over until we found ourselves on the riverbank."

Typhoon Bopha, with central winds of up to 115 kilometres an hour and gusts of up to 145 kilometres an hour, was moving west-northwest of the central Philippines and was expected to be over the South China Sea on Friday.