Power cut hits thousands as winds of up to 190kph lash eastern Philippines.
The national Office of civil defence reported 208 people dead, 261 missing and 90 injured. But the figures included only 22 dead and no one missing from the town of Guinobatan, where Fernando Gonzalez, Albay governor, said a social welfare worker reported 120 bodies had been recovered from massive flooding.
|The villages on the slopes of the Mayon
volcano were hit by mudslides (file photo)
Durian made landfall on Thursday, battering coastal areas with winds of 250km an hour and gusting over 300km an hour.
Graciano Yumul of the Department of Science and Technology said the storm was particularly damaging because it came ashore on the island of Catanduanes, which has no mountains to break the storm’s momentum.
“It really destroyed the island that it hit,” he said. “That is the reason you are seeing the kind of destruction you are seeing right now.”
The storm was initially feared to be on course to pass over Manila, the Philippine capital, a city of some 12 million people.
But it changed course overnight, sparing the city from the worst effects of the storm before it reached into the South China Sea.
In September Typhoon Xangsane left around 200 people dead and missing, with clean-up work still far from finished.
Damage to transport links and crops from Xangsane and other storms this year has already had a noticeable impact on the Philippine economy, slowing third quarter growth figures.
An archipelago of several thousand islands, the Philippines regularly finds itself in the path of typhoons.
The worst in recent memory came in 1991 when floods triggered by Typhoon Thelma killed more than 5,000 people on the island of Leyte.