Super-typhoon Parma changes course

Storm weakens slightly, expected to hit northern Cagayan in flood-ravaged Philippines.

    Thousands are left reeling after tropical storm Ketsana lashed the Philippines [AFP]

    "That is good news," he added. 

    See also

    Typhoons: Asia's mega-storms

    The Philippines had been bracing for Parma, which churned toward the country just a week after tropical storm Ketsana triggered the worst flooding in 40 years in and around Manila, leaving 293 people dead.

    Of the more than three million people affected, more than 400,000 remain in evacuation centres, most of them with poor sanitation facilities.

    Parma was packing sustained winds of 175kph and gusts of up to 210kph, easing from 230kph on Friday, the weather bureau said.

    'Weaker' typhoon

    Cruz said storm signals placed over the disaster zone in and around Manila had been removed, although slight rains were still falling.

    "It is still a strong typhoon. There will still be rains but they will not be comparable to the rains dumped by Ketsana"

    Nathaniel Cruz, weather bureau spokesman

    "It is still a strong typhoon. There will still be rains but they will not be comparable to the rains dumped by Ketsana," he said.

    Prisco Nilo, the chief weather forecaster, said the typhoon could weaken further once it makes landfall.

    He also noted that the storm could change course either westward or even further north because of a high-pressure area in Hong Kong.

    "If it doesn't make landfall, it could go straight to Taiwan or southern Japan," he said.

    On Friday, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the Philippine president, declared the Philippines under a "state of calamity" ordering tens of thousands of people to evacuate low-lying areas to expedite relief efforts.

    Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres, a spokesman for the National Disaster Co-ordinating Council, said that with the threat from Parma downgraded, "we can now focus on relief efforts" for the Ketsana victims.

    Pagasa reiterates its warning to residents in low-lying areas to take all the necessary precautionary measures against possible flashfloods and landslides.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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