Philippines typhoon kills more than 200

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The death toll from the Philippines’ strongest typhoon of 2012 has risen to at least 280.

Officials fear hundreds more bodies will be found as the army and rescuers reach the worst hit villages.

One of the areas most devastated by Typhoon Bopha was the Compostela Valley.

Up to 80 percent of the plantations here have been destroyed, at an estimated cost of 75 million euros.

Raging waters from the mountains swept through school buildings, courts, town halls and health centres where residents had taken shelter.

“My father is in the hospital,” said one survivor “My mother and older brother were swept away by flood waters. The last time I saw them, my Mama said ‘I love you.’”

Thousands of bloodied survivors, caked in mud, piled into temporary shelter areas, as local officials appealed for aid.

Schools remained closed on Wednesday and dozens of domestic flights were suspended.

Scenes like this are all too common in the Philippines, Typhoon Washi which hit in December last year killed around 1,500 people.

Philippines: Peace deal between government and Muslim rebels

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The Philippine government has agreed a peace deal with Muslim rebels ending more than four decades of violent conflict.

The agreement represents a major breakthrough in trust between the authorities and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) separatists and sets in motion the creation of a new autonomous Bangsmoro region in the Muslim dominated south of the mostly Catholic country.

Bangsmoro refers to both the Muslim and non-Islamic people of the Southern Philippines.

The transition which should be completed by the end of President Benigno Aquino’s term in 2016 will give the Muslim area more political and economic powers, including a larger share in revenues from natural resources.

The conflict has stunted the Philippine economy and killed more than 120,000 people although recently the country has seen a recent growth spurt and a resurgence in investor interest.

It is hoped the long awaited new deal will now bring peace and free up untapped deposits of oil, gas and mineral resources in rebel areas.