Typhoon Parma approaches Taiwan

Tropical storm changes course after causing up to 15 deaths in the northern Philippines.

    Bearing the brunt of two storms, many areas in Manila and and nearby provinces remain flooded [AFP]

    Widespread flooding

    Parma carries a typhoon circle with a 250km radius, and packs sustained winds of 119kph with gusts of up to 155kph.

    Large parts of the northern Philippines were flooded and without power on Sunday after Parma killed up to 15 people, but authorities expressed relief it was not as strong as feared.

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    Typhoons: Asia's mega-storms

    Roads were submerged or littered with  fallen trees and toppled power lines.

    Exactly one week after tropical storm Ketsana dumped the heaviest rains in more than four decades on Manila, killing nearly 300 people, Parma struck the north of the Philippines' main Luzon island on Saturday.

    Two separate landslides buried homes in Benguet, killing 12 people, Loreto Espinili, the province's police chief superintendent, said.

    The victims included seven people who died when a landslide swept a house at the edge of a ravine in Itogon town, local authorities said.

    The bodies of the victims, who included two children, were found at the foot of the 200-metre ravine.

    Major damage

    Parma first hit the northern province of Cagayan on Saturday and caused major damage there, local authorities reported.

    "The winds were very strong. There is no power here. There is extensive damage to houses, electrical posts were toppled," Delfin Ting, mayor of Tuguegarao, the capital city of Cagayan, told local radio.

    However he said there had been no immediate reports of casualties in Cagayan after authorities evacuated nearly 170,000 people in Parma's path before it struck.

    Ketsana left almost 300 people dead and affected about four million people [AFP]
    Bellaflor Angara, governor of Aurora, another province in the north, said swaths of rice fields were under water, which could cause supply problems in the next few months.

    "The rains heavily damaged our rice fields," she said over local radio. "We are trying to bring back everything to normal, but that will take time."

    Many areas in Manila and nearby eastern provinces remained flooded more than a week after Ketsana's devastation.

    Of the more than 3.3 million affected by the floods, nearly 400,000 remained in evacuation centres scattered across the city.

    International aid has been trickling in, although authorities said many areas remain under-served.

    The agriculture department said the two storms had caused at  least 5.5bn pesos ($117 million) in damage. Most of  this was from the loss of rice that was due for harvesting.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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