MANILA, Philippines -- Super typhoon Mike slammed into northern Vietnam Friday after a devastating sweep across the central Philippines that left at least 176 people dead and more than a half-million Filipinos homeless, officials said.
Mike, which also caused considerable damage in Palau, struck Vietnam with diminished center winds of 87 mph before dawn, according to the Manila Weather Bureau.
The super typhoon crashed into the central Philippines with sustained center winds of 150 mph Tuesday and caused devastation that prompted President Corazon Aquino to declare an emergency in 31 of the nation's 73 provinces.
The social welfare department Friday listed 176 deaths from Mike, 178 missing and presumed dead and 179 injured. Officials fear the toll would rise once isolated areas are reached. News reports put the death toll at 250.
More than 2.1 million Filipinos crammed schools, churches, town halls and makeshift evacuation centers in the central Philippine islands thatproduce rice, coconut and sugar, the department said. It said the typhoon destroyed 246,089 houses and damaged hundreds of government buildings.
The military office of civil defense said four C-130 transport planes flew relief supplies, including tents, to the disaster zone Friday.
At least 57 vessels were sunk while seeking shelter in harbors in the region in the worst maritime disaster to hit the country visited by an average of 20 storms a year, the Philippine navy said.
Another 28 vessels were run aground and damaged, it said.
Mike was the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines since one designated as Irma killed 470 people with its 160 mph winds in November 1981.
It followed a series of natural disasters this year that compounded the problems of Aquino, who crushed a seventh military revolt last month. The country earlier was wracked by a prolonged drought, monsoon floods and an earthquake that killed more than 1,600 people and devastated the northern region.
As the nation reeled from Mike's onslaught, weather forecasters sighted a low-pressure area to the east that could develop into another typhoon and hit the country by next week.