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Nearly 900 left missing by Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Smoke rises from the devastation caused at the height of Typhoon Bopha in the coastal town of Boston, Davao Oriental in southern Philippines on Dec. 10. Typhoon Bopha killed 647 people and caused crop damage worth $210 million. The most intense storm to hit the Philippines this year wiped out about 90 percent of three coastal towns in Davao Oriental province and buried an entire town in neighboring Compostela Valley province under mud.

The Associated Press reports -- The number of people missing after a typhoon devastated the Philippines jumped to nearly 900 after families and fishing companies reported losing contact with more than 300 fishermen at sea, officials said.

The fishermen from southern General Santos city and nearby Sarangani province left a few days before Typhoon Bopha hit the main southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday, Civil Defense chief Benito Ramos said. The death toll has already surpassed 600, mostly from flash floods that wiped away precarious communities in the southern region unaccustomed to typhoons.

Rescuers were searching for bodies or signs of life under tons of fallen trees and boulders in the worst-hit town of New Bataan, where rocks, mud and other rubble destroyed landmarks, making it doubly difficult to search places where houses once stood. Read the full story.

Leonito Navales / Philippine National Police-PIO Photo Office via Reuters

Police and rescuers conduct search and retrieval operations underneath the debris for typhoon victims who were swept away by floodwaters at the height of Typhoon Bopha in New Bataan town, Compostela Valley, southern Philippines on Dec. 10.

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Children look out from a window of a roofless house, destroyed at the height of Typhoon Bopha in the coastal town of Boston, Davao Oriental in southern Philippines on Dec. 10.

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Residents sift through their clothes on the ruins of a house destroyed at the height of Typhoon Bopha in the coastal town of Boston, Davao Oriental in southern Philippines on Dec. 10.

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Typhoon victims sit at the entrance of a tent with a coffin of a relative, who died after a coconut tree fell on him at the height of Typhoon Bopha, in Montevista town, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines on Dec. 9.

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