"You are probably talking 700 to 1,000 people who have lost their lives."

 

He said 186 bodies had been recovered and that more than 300 remained missing, mostly in one village.

 

Juan Garcia, the mayor of Guinobatan town, which was devastated, said it was almost impossible to find survivors

 

"They have been buried under sand and boulders. I don't think they can survive," he said.

 

National calamity

 

 President Gloria Arroyo declared a state of national calamity after Durian, which was approaching Vietnam on Monday, killed 450 in the central Philippines and left 630 missing.

 

"We are no strangers to this kind of tragedy, and we have always been able to recover and become stronger," she said in a statement on Monday. 

 

More than one million people were affected by the typhoon.

 

The authorities in southern Vietnam, meanwhile, evacuated tens of thousands of residents from the south central provinces of Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Phu Yen where Typhoon Durian was expected to hit on Monday night.