There are fears that the death toll may be as high as 1,000 after mudslides in the Philippines inundated a large area in the east of the country. Authorities brought in sniffer dogs to try to discover any survivors, but only dead bodies have been recovered. Rescue workers said that the smell of death was everywhere, hampering the efforts of the dogs.
The mudslides were triggered by heavy rain caused by Typhoon Durian. The storm struck four days ago in the area around the Mt. Mayon volcano. Eye witnesses talked of walls of black mud that engulfed entire villages. Government figures put the number of dead at over 300, but the Red Cross estimated that this could rise to a thousand. Philippines’ President Gloria Arroyo has declared a state of national calamity.