MANILA, NOV. 26 -- Typhoon Nina slammed into the Philippines' midsection today, killing at least 288 people in a four-province rampage that sent more than 100,000 fleeing to higher ground and crushed more than 14,000 homes, officials said.

President Corazon Aquino declared a state of emergency in the provinces battered by Nina, the most powerful hurricane to hit the island nation in six years. Her declaration empowered authorities to commandeer essential relief goods and prevent the hoarding of basic commodities.

Two hundred residents of Matnog in Sorsogon Province were killed when the hurricane's 128-mph winds sent huge waves crashing into the coastal village overnight, said Renato Arevalo of the armed forces' National Disaster Coordinating Center. Bodies were stacked up in the church in Matnog, 250 miles southeast of Manila on the main island of Luzon, Arevalo said in a telephone interview.

"The residents were given enough warning but because the region is visited by typhoons almost every month, they didn't care," he said. Nina was the 15th typhoon, as hurricanes are called in the south Pacific, to hit the Philippines this year.

"The storm surge was so sudden," Arevalo said. "They were not able to evacuate at once." He said 80 percent of the province's farmland was devastated by the typhoon.

Communication lines to Sorsogon were knocked out by the storm but Arevalo said he reached the province through an amateur radio operator who confirmed 200 were dead. The Catholic Church-run Radio Veritas initially reported 1,600 people were killed but it later said the figure was a clerical error and reduced the number to 200.

Capt. Anselmo Cabingan of the armed forces' public information office said a sketchy field report estimated more than 70 people were killed in Albay Province, 200 miles southeast of Manila.

Combined reports from relief agencies showed 18 people were killed in four other provinces, most struck by falling coconut trees and flying debris. Five of the 18 were fishermen who drowned when their boat capsized in stormy seas.

Social Welfare Department officials said winds knocked down power and communication lines, uprooted trees and crushed more than 14,000 houses.

Spokeswoman Susan Argel said more than 114,000 people in four provinces were forced to flee to safer ground at the height of the typhoon. She said 34,000 people remained in evacuation centers.

Nina struck the southeastern portion of the main Luzon island overnight from the Pacific Ocean after whipping Micronesia during the weekend.

{The United States declared the Micronesian state of Truk a disaster area and promised relief aid for the island cluster, Reuter reported from Agana, Guam. Nina killed five and left thousands homeless in Truk, an autonomous state with a compact of free association with the United States.

{Electricity failed in large parts of Manila, and many flights to and from the city were canceled, Reuter said. There was no serious storm damage reported in the capital.}

Nina's winds weakened slightly, to 94 mph, as it left the Philippines and moved across the South China Sea toward southern China, this afternoon, the Manila weather bureau said.