Typhoon Bopha, the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, has left at least four people dead and 20 missing as it made landfall on the southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday.

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Torrential rain quickly filled swollen rivers, which soon burst their banks, causing homes to be swept away by flash floods.

Damaging winds, gusting as high as 130mph, accompanied the rain, blowing down trees and power lines, leaving roads blocked and thousands without electricity.

Of the 20 reported missing, six were soldiers, swept away as a torrent of water ripped through an army base, according to a military spokesman.

Despite some loss of life, the death toll was much lower than when the same area was hit by Typhoon Washi in December 2011, when 1,500 people were killed.

It is thought that early evacuations by authorities to move people to safety before the storm's arrival helped, with around 155,000 in temporary shelters.

Transport networks were also severely affected, with domestic flights and ferry services in the central and southern Philippines suspended. Schools and businesses remained closed.

After clearing away from the Philippines, the latest forecast from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts that Typhoon Bopha will drift out across the South China Sea in the next few days.

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