December 1, 2006—Hundreds of people are dead or missing
after the Philippines was hit by its fourth major storm in as
Typhoon Durian tore through northern and central areas of the island country yesterday, causing torrential rains and dangerous flash floods (Philippines map).
"There are a lot of conflicting reports, but, looking at the trend, we could have about 300 to 400 people dead by tonight," Richard Gordon, a senator and head of the Philippine Red Cross, told local television, according to the Reuters news agency.
Hardest hit were areas near the active volcano of Mayon, located about 200 miles (325 kilometers) southeast of Manila. Dozens of villagers were killed by mudslides on the slopes of the mountain, which rumbled back to life in July, government officials said. (Related photo: "Philippine Volcano Threatens Eruption" [August 7, 2006].)
Durian, named for a spiky, pungent Asian fruit, reached "supertyphoon" status when it developed winds of at least 150 miles (241 kilometers) an hour—about the equivalent of a Category Five hurricane. (Related photo: "'Supertyphoon' Batters China Coast [August 11, 2006].)
Previous typhoons Xangsane, Cimaron, and Chebi also caused massive damage this season, leaving a total of almost 250 dead in the Philippines since September.
More Photos in the News
Today's Top 15 Most Popular Stories
Free Email Newsletter: "Focus on Photography"