One of the strongest storms on record slammed into the central Philippines on Friday, killing at least four people, forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes and knocking out power and communications in several provinces. But the nation avoided a major disaster because the rapidly moving typhoon Haiyan blew away before wreaking more damage, officials said.

Due to cut-off communications, it was impossible to know the full extent of casualties and damage. At least two people were electrocuted in storm-related accidents, one person was killed by a fallen tree and another was struck dead by lightning, official reports said. — AP