RESCUERS are digging through mud and debris to retrieve more bodies in the Philippines by a powerful typhoon, as the death toll from the storm passed 500.

More than 400 people are still missing after Typhoon Bopha struck on Tuesday, with Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental provinces hardest hit.

More than 310,000 have lost their homes and are in evacuation centres or staying with families, relying on emergency supplies. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies issued an appeal for more help.

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President Benigno Aquino visited badly hit New Bataan town, saying: "I want to know how this tragedy happened and how to prevent a repeat."