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News Wrap: Typhoon Hits Southern Philippines, Killing Nearly 300

December 5, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The people of the Southern Philippines struggled to recover today from a deadly typhoon. Nearly 300 were dead, and officials warned the number could go higher. More than half the victims were in the Compostela Valley province. The storm made landfall there early on Tuesday.

We have a report narrated by Richard Pallot of Independent Television News.

RICHARD PALLOT: A mother cradles her terrified daughter, but at least they have found shelter.

So many didn’t, at the cost of many hundreds of lives, gusts of nearly 100 miles an hour ripping through the Southern Philippines, triggering landslides and floods. Authorities described how entire families were just washed away.

Much of the initial rescue operation was in the dark, with electricity and communications cut off, entire villages waiting for the lights to see what was left and who survived, many already fearing the worst. Typhoons are common here, with approximately 20 striking a year, but warnings from the president about the severity of this particular storm, so many Filipinos move out in advance, meaning a death toll in the hundreds, rather than, perhaps, the thousands.

CAROLINE GLUCK, Oxfam: This super-typhoon was much stronger, and people were really worried about the impact, so they heeded early evacuation calls. They moved to higher ground. They went to evacuation centers. And although current casualties are highly regrettable, it could have been much worse.

RICHARD PALLOT: The immediate issue is to get food to those most in need, those whose livelihoods have been destroyed. But with agriculture and infrastructure so badly ruined here, any further typhoons in the coming weeks will have even more far-reaching consequences.

HARI SREENIVASAN: A massive storm pounded the Southern Philippines last December as well, killing more than 1,200 people.

In Egypt, a political crisis deepened today as supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi faced off in Cairo. The two sides threw rocks, sticks and firebombs as night fell outside the presidential palace. At least 126 people were hurt.

And there were reports that masked men set fire to Morsi’s political party headquarters. Protests erupted last week after the president assumed sweeping powers and a committee dominated by Islamists rushed through a new constitution.

The nation’s busiest port complex is back in business after an eight-day strike halted operations. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, reopened today after port operators and the workers union reached an agreement late Tuesday. The union said it won new protections against job outsourcing. Port officials said, during the walkout, they were unable to move some $760 million worth of cargo every day.

Wall Street had a day of ups and downs, and investors watched economic reports and weighed chances for a fiscal cliff deal in Washington. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 82 points to close at 13,034. But the Nasdaq fell nearly 23 points to close at 2,973. The day’s big loser was Apple, down more than 6 percent over concerns that smartphone sales are lagging.

Former Texas Congressman Jack Brooks has died. He served 42 years in the House, and was in the Dallas motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated. Hours later, Brooks was on hand as Vice President and fellow Texan Lyndon Johnson was sworn in to the presidency. Later, Brooks helped author the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and he drafted the articles of impeachment against President Nixon. Jack Brooks was 89 years old.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.