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Typhoon Durian kills at least 388 in Philippines

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:30 PM GMT on December 01, 2006

At least 388 people have died in the Philippines due to the landfall of devastating Typhoon Durian, which slammed ashore in the central Philippine Islands yesterday. Durian hit extreme southern Luzon Island in the province of Albay as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 145 mph. The typhoon passed directly over Mayon, the most active volcano in the Philippines and one of the country's most famous tourist attractions because of its near-perfect cone. Loose rock that the volcano had deposited in a July eruption rushed down the slopes in the form of deadly mudslides, thanks to Durian's torrential rains. Estimates from NASA's TRMM satellite of the rain amounts were 8-12 inches in a 24 hours period. The mudslides swept into villages and rivers at the foot of the Mayon Volcano. Evacuations of the villages had not been ordered, since the region had never before experienced severe mudslides from a typhoon.

Next, Durian hit the island of Marinduque as a Category 3 typhoon with sustained winds of 120 mph. Virtually every building on the island was damaged or destroyed, and Durian was judged the worst typhoon ever to hit the island. In all, the death toll from Durian makes this storm more deadly than Typhoon Xangsane, which killed 218 people in the Philippines on September 27. Durian is the fourth major typhoon to hit the Philippines this year.

Figure 1. Visible satellite image from NASA's Aqua satellite of Typhoon Durian from 05 GMT November 30, 2006 (1pm local time in the Philippines). The Mayon volcano was in the southern eyewall underneath an impressive tower of high cumulonimbus clouds at the time. Image credit: NASA.

Durian is now a weakening Category 1 typhoon over the South China Sea, and is expected to weaken further as it continues westwards towards Vietnam. A large area of dry air over the region should reduce Durian to tropical storm strength by the time it reaches Vietnam on Monday, where it is not expected to do significant damage.

I'll save my discussion of why the 2006 hurricane season was so mild for next week. Expect a short update on Durian Saturday.

Jeff Masters
Mt. Mayon Lava Flow
Mt. Mayon Lava Flow
Taken from Linonl Hill Observatory (13 09'40 123 43'46) at Albay Philippines. Glow from the volcanoes peak can been seen from dusk til dawn. Still at 8km danger zone.
Mayon Volcano, City of Legazpi, Philippines
Mayon Volcano, City of Legazpi, Philippines
Mount Mayon, the world's most perfect cone-shaped volcano.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

What kind of effect does El Nino have on Pacific Typhoons?
The only good thing is that it is leaving - I pray for all those who endured it and survived and the families of those who didn't survive.
Aweful. This country's been through enough.
El Nino enhances them... 1997 was a horror (although not in terms of landfalls) with eleven super typhoons, ten Category 5s, three consecutive storms more intense than Wilma, and two 185 mph storms at the same time (they even went into a Fujiwhara effect). Fortunately, most of them stayed out to sea (as with this year's Atlantic season; 2005 wouldn't have been that bad if most of the storms had formed further east and recurved without hitting land).
El Nino does enhance the West Pacific, but it also reduces the SSTs because warm water moves to the east; with La Nina, the opposite occurs so the West Pacific is actually considerably cooler during El Nino (I hope cyclonebuster sees this... LOL). Storms during La Nina can get very strong though, like Zeb. How bad a season is mainly depends on the storms that make landfall and where they do so.
how close is the landfall to Legazpi, thats the information I am wondering about. That being what is the damage, death toll from that town, if you can provide that information I would gladly appreciate it. Thank you.
Here's all I can find right now.

"We do not have exact figures but we are looking at about 200 dead... principally in the vicinity of Mayon volcano," said Glenn Rabonza, NDCC executive officer also said.

Gonzales confirmed earlier figures given by provincial relief officer Cedric Daep who told Agence France-Presse that the bodies of those killed had been retrieved in the towns and villages of Daraga and Santo Domingo.

Gonzalez named some of the villages hit by the landslide as Cagsawa, Busay, Cullat and Malibago in Daraga, and Padang in Legazpi.

More info on Legazpi:

LEGAZPI CITYFor three hours, walls of mud roard down from Mayon Volcano, burying houses up to their rooftops, and rocks as big as cars tumbled down. When everything was still, hundreds were feared dead.

One province, where up to 90 percent of buildings were wrecked or damaged, looked like a bowler had rampaged through it, knocking down trees and power poles like tenpins, a lawmaker said.

A Red Cross spokesperson initially put the death toll at 388, with scores more missing.

The death count was still rising as Supertyphoon Reming (international name: Durian) swirled out to the South China Sea yesterday after pounding the Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions with winds gusting up to 265 kph and triggering floods and torrents of mud and volcanic rocks.

The disaster covered almost every corner of this provincerampaging floods, falling trees, damaged houses, said Gov. Fernando Gonzales of the hardest-hit Albay province. Many of the houses were totally covered by mud. Only the rooftops were showing.

Gonzales was referring to the horror brought in Albay, where several villages were engulfed by mudslides accompanied by tons of boulders.

Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said the typhoon started battering the village of Padang at around 10 a.m. and then the mudflows struck at 3 p.m.

The mudflow lasted for almost three hours, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Rosal said on ANC television. It was very fast but it (was) three hours of rolling stones ... Families inside their houses were torn from each other. Only two things happened. Some of them were thrown into the sea, others were buried alive.

The rocks were as big as cars, Rosal said

He said the mudflows cascaded up to the national highway well beyond the 8-km danger zone from the mouth of Mayon Volcano, the first time that mudflows had gone that far.
Its a wasteland, Rosal said.

Officials at the Office of Civil Defense said the floods in some areas had forced residents to run to the roofs of their houses and emergency workers were rescuing them from the rooftops.

One of the strongest

About 10,000 houses in Bicol and Southern Tagalog were either blown down by the typhoonone of the strongest to hit the country in the last 20 yearsor were damaged.

Thousands fled to evacuation centers. In Camarines Sur, another hard hit area, the provincial government ordered a forced evacuation of residents before Reming struck.

At least 388 people were killed in Albay, Philippine National Red Cross spokesperson Teresa Arguelles said, according to Agence France-Presse.

PNRC chair Sen. Richard Gordon said the overall death tally could reach between 300 and 400.

The mud was as tall as two-story houses, said Dr. Anthony Golez, deputy administrator of the Office of the Civil Defense.

He said Reming dumped 466 millimeters of rainfall, the highest in over 40 years. The water mixed with volcanic debris spewed by Mayon in its recent eruptions, causing the mudflows, officials said.

Initial damage estimates in the Philippines are at One Billion Philippine Pesos. Correct me if I am wrong.
Latest conversion rate is putting that at just under 5 Billion US dollars.
Afternoon Randrewl..........
I saw some TV footage on the BBC this morning from the Phillipines. Not nice at all...........
Hi Pottery. No...it is a nasty picture and we still don't know half of it yet.
Some kind of beautiful before.

Well that looks like a nice place to be. Funny how Mother Nature can be filled with terror from time to time....
Here's part of a steel framed bridge. Check out the tattered palms. Looks like a storm hit.

The roofs look pretty tattered too.
The debris on the bridge gives an idea of where the water level was !!!!!
Yeah, but what I understand....that wasn't where the bridge was either.
When Hurricane Flora went through Tobago in the sixtees, all the coconut palms lost their tops completely. It was a strange sight, all those bare sticks.......
Buster....I don't think these people care about your comparison to Andrew right now.
I know Pottery. We still have a lot of stick palms around here too.
Margie has information on her blog about damage and my blog as well. As it becomes available it will be there. It's just now almost 5am Saturday there....so we should start getting more reports out of the areas hardest hit.
Buster....take it somewhere else. Don't start this on here now please.

You can't see this one too well...but quite a bit of damage
If Andrew brought down tons of ash from a nearby volcano then you would have a valid point Buster
Oh sheesh... the poor Philippines... to have been hit that hard in the latest of a series...
Clearly either one side of the globe gets it or the other... :sigh: They are not a wealthy nation this will be a hard recovery...
I'm curious, I've felt the wind of every category a hurricane can acheive here in Florida..I wonder what its like over there in the Pacific? Is it colder? Is it more extreme?

Any thoughts?
buster, I lived through Andrew.
I learned years ago NOT to compare cyclones. Each has it's *worse than* points and it is pointless to try and make comparisons.
Durian has a number of different elements that make it bad. Andrew had its...
Your estimate on $ damage is off... per the Manila Times:

Peso Close:
49.66 PI Pesos to $1.00 USD

As of

$1,000,000,000.00 PI Peso / 50 = $20M USD
That is a staggering amount for a poor region of a poor country...

Good question MrP. I've felt them all as well here in in Puerto Rico... it's a deeper ocean, but that would lead to the argument that it's waters are colder, unless a system goes over a GulfStream-like phenomenon... Just seems that there are more stronger cyclones around the other side of the world. (Except for last year here which was unique)
Season summary is out by the NHC, and here's an interesting tidbit from it:


So we may have what should have been Beryl, and that would take the season from below average to average.
heavyweatherwatcher...One of the articles on my blog mentioned 1 billion pesos I believe. That is where I came up with my figure. But I would not be surprised if I am incorrect. Regardless...it is too soon to know anyway how economically bad this one was.
There is NO question that the loss of life, and then property is going to be the worst part of this disaster. Wind strength is not a good calculation when determining the catastrophic nature of an event.
Many years ago, SW Puerto Rico was hit by an unnamed system that brought such torrential rains that half a mountain quite literally gave away, trapping and killing hundreds. I don't recall that particular system ever getting a name or even number...
Sprock, that IS a curious bit... ::VBG:: Now do all the names get bumped back one??? B is C, C is D..........
Especially over there. It could take weeks to evaluate the estimated cost of the damage and casualty count.
heavyweatherwatcher...I'm sorry....I see what you are saying. Yeah....still staggering. But I expect it will be much worse than this.
No CG....if after evaluation it is confirmed it will just be an un named storm.
HI Rand.
Hey Ryan.
I e-mailed the yacht club, maybe I'll hear back from them.
Did Dr.m blog just disaapared.
388 dead, 260 missing, 138 injured...so far. I hope those 260 people are found alive
Cool Skye...great idea. Let me know please.
By Manny Mogato

MANILA (Reuters) - Typhoon Durian may have killed up to 400 people in the central Philippines after heavy rains and winds sent mud and boulders the size of cars crashing onto villages, the head of the local Red Cross said on Friday.

Durian, which packed winds of up to 225 kph (140 mph), moved into the South China Sea after lashing the Philippines since early Thursday and was expected to weaken into a tropical storm before hitting Vietnam on Monday.

Communities close to Mount Mayon, an active volcano about 320 km (200 miles) south of Manila, were buried after Durian dislodged mounds of debris from its slopes.
"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.

A statement from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said initial statistics indicated some 25,000 people had been affected.

Thousands were left homeless and infrastructure damaged, including power lines and phone links knocked out, bridges washed away and roads buried by landslides.

"It's a wasteland," said Noel Rosal, a mayor in the central region of Bicol.

What's the damage estimate so far?
"Philippine National Red Cross spokeswoman Teresa Arguelles said all the 388 confirmed dead were in Albay alone"

That's just devastating. The other villages and towns have not be accounted for yet...the death toll could take a sudden jump like STS Bilis and STY Saomai.
***TROLL ALERT*** NAME OF TROLL: ODDDBUTNICE!! Be on the look out!
Thats near where i live!
60. V26R
Nasty Looking Solid Line of Boomers approaching Eastern Pa/ Nj and the NYC area
Its like 70 degrees out now here and really windy
There was a tornado warning for Monroe county, pennsylvania earlier. I believe it expires at 5:45 EST.

While you are in 70 degree temps V26R, here its 32 with Heavy Freezing Rain...
62. V26R
Here's a Link for the Local NWS Radar Loop
Even a Tornado Warning Thrown in
Time to batten Down the hatches!

63. V26R
Steve Where you Located?
Just east of Montreal, Canada.
Those who wnat to talk about the possible Northeast snowstorm next Monday come to the east coast winter blog by eastcoastweather.
Then why aren't you posting now?
Dr. Masters - someone told me you were quoted in our Houston Chronicle - must get it to read that is so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!
HOLY ****!!!!!!!! I'm in souther New York and um under a tornado watch!!!!!!!!!!! Thats the third tornado watch for New York this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ME too!
71. V26R
Condx here in NYC unbelievable
Temp is about 70 degrees and really humid,
Stars & Moon really Beautiful inbetween the Low Marine Level Flying by!
Can see nasty Lightning out to the West and whole region under Tornado Watch til 10pm EST
The Life of Durian in 6 to 7 secs QT movie (3.5 MB)

626 PM EST FRI DEC 1 2006



Damage reports are rolling in from the NE...A whole lotta trees are down, wires resulting in power loss & some roofs.
75. V26R
This explains why the Low Level Clouds are flying by me!!!

0515 PM CST FRI DEC 01 2006



VALID 012315Z - 020015Z



..BROYLES.. 12/01/2006


Nasty weather .... :c(

* at 632 PM EST... National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a
line of severe thunderstorms capable of producing destructive winds
in excess of 70 mph.
These storms were located along a line
extending from 6 miles northeast of Gardnertown to Chester to 33
miles west of Fairfield... or along a line extending from 7 miles
southwest of Poughkeepsie to Goshen to 15 miles east of
Phillipsburg... and moving east at 45 mph.

78. V26R
HurricaneBlast, You Are Not Alone!
And Im stuck at Work too!
Hope you get through the storm without any problems.
81. V26R
Amazing thing is that the Temperature is actually rising here, Its 72 right now with wind
Blowing at 25 mph and just had gust at 42 mph about 5 minutes ago. Wierd to watch the Pressure fall!
V26R check your mail...
when sould the storms be in new york?


new york cams they move aorund as well i hop i get to see good lighting from this from the cams hit the one you want to see
84. V26R
Boomers knocking on the door right now
Wind is really howling and Lightning constant
towards southwest
this post is directed at buster. The damage you are talking about in the means of andrew does not compare whatsoever to the damage that you are seeing in the Phillippines. I still have no reports of any kind from my extended family there nor do I know what type of damage was sustained elsewhere.

Buster, you want to talk about andrew go somewhere else please. I was in homestead during andrew and I can tell you from a first hand account that the damage that you are seeing in the phillippines is much worse than anything any of us ever saw after the storm came through. Please respect Randrew and his request and keep that comparison out of here.
Amen plywood.
Afternoon Rand.
Crab....it's night here! How you doing?
I am good but disapointed I was suppose to go to Baton Rouge to Pats award and got tied up and could not make it.
Sorry to hear that....that would have been nice to be there.
I was sent and RSVP and already had secured a room so we could party a bit.lol I had to cancel the reservations and forfiet a 20 dollar deposit.lol
Sorry to hear that.
I am trying to get more information of the needs in the Philipines.
I was tied up today on debriefings we had a fire Tuesday that killed a 2 yearold and a 3 year old and 3 of the firemen that responded it was there 1st fire so they were really stressed.
Pic Removed
Nice pic Blast
Oh just as a note it fake lol. I made it
I've been fairly stressed here also with family doings. Philippines are still trying to find out how bad it all is. Probably 4 or 500 dead and damage in the billions.
OK Blast...maybe post it on your own blog.
Our local red cross director is waiting on words from national to see if we might deploy to go over for a 30 day assistance program but it will take several weeks to set up My pass port is good to 09 so I am ready.
Crab...I've been posting what I could gather on my blog about Typhoon Durian and here. I've been off for a couple hours....so I'll keep up as the info comes out.
Getting info on what shots will be needed next week.
All the mudflows mixed with the volcanic components...once that sets up it's like trying to dig through a lava flow.
Yes it will be like concrete
Yeah....the lucky ones got washed out to sea and survived.
We are offering assistance in temporary shelters (Tents and portable showers and kitchens)
If you go....I'm sure your help is required. They're going to need it.
We had so much support last year I feel compelled to do all I can
I understand that. Go, they need you.
I have secured a 10 person team trained in "Critical Incident and Crisis Management" that could debrief families and responders.
Crab...do us all a favor please. Check out with the Red Cross about a direct aid fund for donations. I dislike giving to the International fund.
113. V26R
Boomers past rather uneventfully here, Had some pretty good gusts and a pretty Display of fireworks
I can do that Drlaura has a brother there she gave me his number I will check through him as well.
Good .....I'm talking with the local paper about some help here.
Great we will share info and maybe can do something a bit quicker.
Right Crab...quicker the better. Just email me on WU...
I have a radio interview Monday morning I am planning on asking people to donate to our local Chapter so that we can make a direct donation to a chapter over there.
You got it my friend I will be getting info together for us to share with others as well.
Rand has the front passed you yet?
I appreciate the help. We all have to do our share and I'm here to help.
No, we won't see that till Sunday night.....even then it won't be much here. It's crapping out.
It was 85 here today!
Pulling to far north thats good it gettin cold here. mid 30s tonight possible 20s tommorrow night
My blood is to thin for that that is why I live in the South.lol
Ooof! We won't see much out of this one....but it's still early in the winter!
Lot of trolls running around here tonight. Watch out.
With my state of mind after the week I have had they better watch out! lol
I hear that. Keep me posted on what we can do. I need to run off for a bit....see ya later Crab.
They might get the Crabby side of the crab.lol
Will do my friend.
Caneman goes on hiatus

(AP)December 1, 2006

Caneman, destroyer of tropical blobs and other tropical weather systems, has announced that he will be on hiatus until next hurricane season.
"This year, we stood tall in the face of mother nature and turned back what could have been some ferocious storms" Caneman stated at a news conference at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. "It could have gone either way, but thanks to windshear and african dust, the would be tropical blobs didn't stand a chance" he said to an applauding crowd.

Mrs. Jones, long time Florida resident was relieved that the season passed without so much as a warning.
"I knew Caneman wouldn't let us down. He really rose to the task this year and maximized that wonderful upper level windshear."

Fred "storm surge" Knight added "Caneman kicked total tropical tail this season. What a weather stud!"

Caneman took it all in stride. "Just another day at the office" he deadpanned to a beaming crowd. "Let's keep praying for more upper level windshear next season and for good measure, some dry air intrustion".

Caneman plans to relax and work on crossword puzzles, perfect the next generation Pina Colada, and perhaps read a book. Or two.

"I have just over six months to recharge my batteries and get ready for the 2007 season. I hope it will be as successful as this one was", Caneman concluded.
Afternoon all.
News seems to be getting worse and worse out of the Philippines. Geoff Mackely (who've I've already mentioned several times on here but I'll mention again for those who missed it) is in the Mayon Volcano region as I type. He'll be posting updates on his website www.rambocam.com There are already some sensational pictures uploaded.

Trying to diminish the scale of this disaster by making cras and pointless comparisons to other cyclones is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to those who've been affected. Wind speed is by no means the only indicator for how catastrophic a tropical cyclone is going to be. The highest death toll this season in the NW Pacific(excluding Durian since all details aren't known yet) was from Bilis which wasn't even at typhoon intensity when it made landfall in China.
TyphoonHunter...I appreciate and understand your point.
The toll from Durian is yet to be known.
New Invest 093W

An area of convection near 4.3N 155.1E or 265 nm southeast of Chuuk. Imagery shows flaring convection over a developing low level circulation center with low vertical wind sheer and favorable westward and equatorward outflow.

Maximum sustained winds 10 to 15 knots with a center pressure of 1006 mb. development into a significate tropical cyclone is poor

note 92W which we know as Durian started at 6N 153E, this new invest isn't that far off from Durian's starting point =/
Geez....not another one.

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.7 / 991.4mb/ 59.0kt
15kts and 1006 on 93W....nothin to get excited about yet.
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay -- Rescuers resumed digging through mud, rocks and debris for signs of life at first light Saturday, but Albay Governor Fernando Gonzalez, where mudslides from Mayon Volcano left at least 208 dead and 261 others missing, said the operations have now shifted to the retrieval of bodies.
MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- Survivors told of red-hot, car-sized boulders loosened by typhoon rains barreling into Philippines villages Friday after Typhoon Durian roared across the island nation. At least 388 people were killed, Red Cross officials said.
Having visited the area around Mayon several times a few years ago I can scarcely imagine the devastation caused by dumping up to 12" of rain on top of recent eruption debris. Mayon does suffer from lahars (mixture of pyroclastic ash and water) down gullies and river channels all the way to the sea but these dreadful mudflows sound exceptional. Also as pictures show most housing is very insubstantial and vulnerable to wind.
The government resources do not appear to be great and have already had to deal with 3 previous typhoons this year alone. You can contribute direct to Philippines Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org.ph/) but they do not appear to have a secure system for credit cards. I have asked what they can suggest and will post any extra info.
Pieman2....Thank you for the information. A direct source for contributions would be extremely helpful. Please keep us informed.
Sandcrab, I would like to make a donation too. Can you tell me where and how?
Photos just uploaded from the mudflow site at www.rambocam.com Conditions between 93W and the Philippines seem ripe at the moment. There is minimal wind shear and SSTs must still be boiling. If this develops could be serious business!

A villager digs up a dead cow in the shadow of Mayon Volcano, this photo illustrates the vast width of the mudflow, where there

is now mud there used to be villages and a forest.

There you go Typhoon....thanks to you and Geoff!
UPDATE) '469 dead or missing in Albay mudslides'

LEGASPI - At least 469 people were dead or missing after rivers of mud and volcanic ash triggered by typhoon Reming (international codename Durian) swamped villages in Albay province, disaster officials said Saturday.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council said the victims were all in the Bicol region, which bore the full brunt of the storm on Thursday.

The NDCC said 208 people were killed, 90 were hurt and 261 were missing in regions IV and V. All the deaths were around the Mount Mayon volcano where mud and ash flows driven by torrential rain swamped villages on Thursday night.

It said that 195,153 families, or 799,056 people, in 928 villages have been affected. About 27,000 houses were destroyed. Damage to property amounted to over P27 million.

Power and communications are still down in Bondoc Peninsula and in Bicol, officials said, while electricity in Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon has yet to be restored.

The Philippine National Red Cross had earlier reported 388 confirmed dead and 96 missing but revised their total down to 134 dead and 159 missing Saturday. However, the Red Cross said it was also investigating reports of another 200 dead in a village on the slopes of Mount Mayon. AFP


i wish this will be the last typhoon to hit the country this year.
The official and latest updates from the Philippine National Disaster Coordinating Council are here:

Good morning..........
Up to 700 feared dead in typhoon aftermath

By Tony Bergonia, TJ Burgonio
Last updated 09:44pm (Mla time) 12/02/2006

PADANG, Legazpi City -- No one will probably know for sure how many lives were swallowed up in the torrents of volcanic mud and rocks unleashed by super-typhoon Reming but the man who should know, Philippine National Red Cross chief Senator Richard Gordon, said the figure could reach 700.

Survivors of the disaster that struck this village of 1,400 people in Albay say they are certain many of their men, women, and children still lie underneath the pile of boulders and volcanic sand that wiped out entire neighborhoods here.

Theyre still under there, said a man, pointing with his lips at what used to be a two-kilometer stretch of road that debris from Mayon Volcano had obliterated. There are houses under these.

Gordon on Saturday visited some of the areas ravaged by Reming in its powerful strike at Albay and other provinces in the Bicol region on Thursday.

Six hundred to 700 people are feared dead, Gordon told reporters on the plane flying him back to Manila.

The official casualty toll released by the National Disaster Coordinating Center in its 7 p.m. update put the number of dead at 303, including 285 dead in Albay, which bore the brunt of Remings gusts of 265 kilometers per hour.

The NDCC said 10 people died in Camarines Sur, five in Catanduanes, two in Oriental Mindoro, and one in Quezon.

The number of those on the official list of missing stood at 293.

The NDCC said 195,153 families, or 799,056 people, in 12 provinces were affected.

Of that number, 44,348 people were in evacuation centers.

Reming also destroyed or damaged 118,324 houses.

Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal was as puzzled as many of the villagers over what brought the destruction.

We werent expecting this, he said. He said city officials anticipated flood and mudflows from Mayon to follow the course of the river, but they didnt.

The mudflow descended on the village, not on the river. There must be something really wrong, Rosal said.

Villagers pointed to roofs jutting out of mud and boulders and said they were sure that there were people under them -- dying if not already dead.

Joseph Manjares, an official of the PNRC chapter in Albay, said that based on projections, the number of missing might reach 769.

All that some of the villagers could remember of that scary Thursday was the sound -- the terrifying braaam, braaam of boulders crashing down as floodwaters carried them from the slopes of the volcano, the woooosh of the winds, and human voices barely audible in the noise of natures wrath.

We cant hear each other, said Lordito Bautista, whose family was among about 10 who took shelter on the roof of a cement factory.

But I can hear women and children shouting. I cant hear what they were shouting about but Im sure they were crying for help. All I could hear was the sound of boulder hitting boulder.

That was where we survived, Bautista said, pointing to the roof that was all that could be seen of the cement factory.

Some villagers recalled watching helplessly as people clinging to trees lost their grip and fell into floodwaters that they said reached the height of a two-story house.

Jesus Almayda, a village official, said he was on the roof of his house and saw bodies being swept away in the waters like pieces of logs.

People pointed to a roof that was all that stood out of a pile of mud, sand, and rocks at one end of the village.

Twenty people died there, one man shouted at reporters and cameramen.

The man said floods swept the villagers to the house where, seconds later, boulders and mud followed and buried them.

Some villagers said they wanted to run away, but a wall of water rushing to them forced them to stay indoors.

That was what the family of John Louie Belon tried to do.

We tried twice to just get out, said his mother, who would not give her name.

She said the family wanted to try a third time to leave the house, but the waters were coming fast.

So we just climbed our roof, she said.

When the water subsided and the mud dried, the family saw what was left of their belongings -- a pair of sofas, spoons and forks caked in mud, a set of dusty plates, and a pool of water in the middle of what used to be a living room.

As officials and reporters wound their way into the village, the Belons were laying muddied clothes, kitchen ware, bed sheet,s and pillows out in the sun to dry.

We want to build a new house in another place, said the mother. Were afraid of this place now.

There was no way of knowing for sure how many bodies the 20-foot-high pile of volcanic materials were holding.

We dont have the equipment (to dig through the rubble), said the mayor, but we will surely retrieve their bodies.

Our mission now is search and retrieve, he said.

The task of finding the dead was slow, and the stench of those that had been found started to fill the air.

City officials said that in this village alone, at least 41 people were dead. At least 141 others were missing, believed to be underneath the pile of debris where there used to be roads and communities.

At the lone funeral parlor here, a white board lists the names of 12 people who were confirmed dead.

Inside a small room that served as a morgue, the bodies of four children, a woman, and a man were covered with pieces of cloth.

Their names were not on the list yet. They had not been identified.

A garage was emptied of vehicles to make way for white coffins.

These are reserved. These are still empty, but reserved (for the dead), said one funeral parlor worker.

At a larger funeral parlor outside the village, bodies were being sprayed with formalin, a commodity that Mayor Rosal said the city might run out of soon.

One villager rushing to a crowd that gathered around the mayor yelled in FilipinoMayor, please help us.

With a report from Alcuin Papa

........well it seems that there is a real sad condition there.
"97L is dead; never to rise again."

Yes, yes finally, some closure. No more haunting.
I have posted a link to a slideshow of Durian on my blog.