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Dozens killed as 160-mph typhoon hits Philippines

The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year pounded the southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday, killing dozens as it destroyed homes and brought down power and communication lines.

At least 81 people died in Mindanao, ABS-CBNnews.com cited officials as saying.

Typhoon Bopha made landfall at dawn, uprooting trees and tearing off roofs. The Weather Channel said the storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 160 mph and was the equivalent of a category five hurricane.

At least 43 people were killed in flash floods and landslides near a mining area on Mindanao, ABS-CBN reported, saying waters and mudslides had swept through an army post.

A television reporter said she saw numerous bodies lined up near the army base. 

Disaster official Liza Mazo, said more casualties were expected to be discovered as search and rescue teams fanned out.

PhotoBlog: Images of Bopha's damage
PhotoBlog: Bopha stirs awe from space

Media said dozens of people were injured by flying debris, falling trees and swept away by swollen rivers and flash floods.

More than 155,000 people were in shelters late on Tuesday, due in part to an early evacuation.

AFP - Getty Images

Residents brave heavy wind and rains during Typhoon Bopha on the southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday.

About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, often causing death and destruction. Typhoon Washi killed 1,500 people on Mindanao in 2011.

"We have suffered enough," Felicitas Cabusao said, clutching a Holy Rosary beside her crying 12-year-old daughter.

Cabusao said her daughter survived Typhoon Washi, almost exactly a year ago, after she was washed out to sea when flash floods swept away entire coastal villages.

Dozens of domestic flights and ferry services in the central and southern Philippines were suspended on Tuesday. Schools and some businesses were closed.

Bopha was moving west-northwest and was expected to move out into the South China Sea by Thursday. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

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