PADANG, Philippines – Rescuers scouring mountain villages buried under mud and boulders loosed by a powerful typhoon discovered more bodies Saturday, raising the death total to more than 300, with another 300 missing.
Officials fear the number of those killed by Typhoon Durian will rise as rescue operations continue in devastated villages on the slopes of the Mayon volcano, 210 miles southeast of Manila in the eastern Philippines.
The national Office of Civil Defense has reported 208 people dead, 261 missing and 90 injured.
But those figures included few of the 120 bodies found in the town of Guinobatan on the slopes of Mayon, where Albay Gov. Fernando Gonzalez said.
"We need food, tents, water, body bags," Philippine National Red Cross official Andrew Nocon told DZMM radio. "We sent initially 300 bags, but we need more."
In Padang, a few miles from Guinobatan, houses were buried under mud and debris, with only roofs protruding. Power pylons were toppled, a two-lane highway became a one-lane, debris-strewn road with overturned trucks scattered about and a backhoe half-buried by a massive boulder.
Luis Bello, a mayor's aide in Padang, said 28 bodies were recovered there and photographed for identification by relatives. Some of the bodies had been washed out to sea and brought back by currents to the shores of an adjacent town.
Ash and boulders had been building on the slopes of the 8,077-foot Mayon -- one of 22 active volcanos in the Philippines -- which has been coming to life in recent months. Typhoon Durian's winds of 139 mph and drenching rain on Thursday raked it all down on the deluged villages.
For nearly three hours late Thursday afternoon, mudslides tore through Mayon's gullies, uprooting trees, flattening houses and engulfing people. Entire hamlets were swamped. Burials of victims were expected to start as soon as Saturday.
Gonzalez, who expected the death toll to rise, said the damage from the typhoon was unprecedented in the region.
"Every corner of this province has been hit. It is a total devastation," he said. "Never before in the history have we seen water like this. Almost every residential area was flooded."
Padang residents Benjamin Luga, 70, and his wife Elizabeth, 62, said they escaped the mudslide by tearing down their bathroom ceiling and hiding in the roof. A big boulder halted just two yards from their house.
"First we heard the howling winds, then came the flood. It was water, sand, gravel and boulders," Elizabeth Luga said.
Looking at her house where the floors were covered in five feet of mud, she said she thought that the home would collapse under the onslaught of mud, water and debris, which felt "like an earthquake."
Mayon, a popular tourist attraction because of its nearly perfect conical shape, erupted in July, depositing millions of tons of rocks and volcanic ash on its slopes. It has continued to rumble since then. Rains from previous typhoons may have loosened the materials, officials said.
A broken dike also flooded many parts of Albay, the local Red Cross said. It appealed for food, bottled water, blankets, mats and mosquito nets.
Canada donated $876,000, the Philippine Foreign Affairs Department reported, while Japan said it would send $173,000.