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Philippine president orders investigation as typhoon death toll approaches 500
NEW BATAAN, (Xinhua): Philippines President Benigno Aquino III on Friday ordered a probe into the high casualties of Typhoon Bopha (local name Pablo) as the death toll rose to almost 500 in southern Philippines.
The Philippine president flew by helicopter to the southern island of Mindanao to personally see the extent of the destruction caused by the killer storm.
Aquino told over 2,000 survivors of the storm that the government would want to know why the storm caused so many deaths and so much destruction in the resource-rich Mindanao region.
The president has ordered Interior Minister Mar Roxas to lead the multi-agency investigation team that would look into allegations that massive logging and mining activities contributed to the occurrence of deadly mudflows that killed over 120 people in New Bataan town alone. "We want to account all those still missing and find more survivors,"said Aquino.
The storm, according to the latest tally by the army's 10th Infantry Division, has killed about 440 people, with Compostela Valley accounting for at least 223 deaths. It was followed by Davao Oriental with 217 fatalities.
At least 410 were still missing, with about 398 in this town alone.
Aquino also led the distribution of relief goods to evacuees as well as cash assistance to those whose family members died in the disaster.
Over 180,000 people have fled their homes and are huddling in evacuation centers in the two provinces as the government continues to appeal for more aid to the victims.
Editor: Wang Yuanyuan
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