Typhoon kills at least 146 people in the Philippines

At least 146 people have been killed in the Philippines by a mudslide triggered by a typhoon, the Red Cross says.

Rains caused by Typhoon Durian brought mud and rocks down hillsides, burying two villages in the foothills of the Mayon volcano, south-east of Manila.

Five other villages were also affected, and as the search for the survivors continues, the death toll may rise.

In September, nearly 200 people were killed when Typhoon Xangsane hit the north and centre of the country.

The mudslides hit Albay province, with main casualties occuring in the villages of Daraga, Busay and Santo Domingo.

The area affected is near the city of Legaspi, 350km (220 miles) from the capital, Manila, BBC reports.

With power and phone lines downed by powerful winds, helicopters were carrying out aerial surveillance of cut off areas.

"Our rescue teams are overstretched rescuing people on rooftops," said Glen Rabonza, head of the national Office of Civil Defense.

Fernando Gonzales, governor of badly hit Albay province, said 108 bodies had been found but that recovery operations were continuing. The figure did not include at least one person killed in adjacent Camarines Sur province, which reported that its capital was flattened.

Undersecretary Dr. Graciano Yumul of the Department of Science and Technology said the storm was particularly damaging because wind gusts hit 165 mph when Durian came ashore Thursday in Catanduanes, an island province with no mountains to break the storm's momentum.

The civil defense office said electricity was cut off to thousands of people in Bicol and 10 towns in nearby Quezon province, while nearly 4,000 ferry passengers were stranded after the coast guard grounded all vessels, the AP reports.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Alex Naumov