Typhoon Parma Hits Philippines

Local residents make their way through floodwaters in Taytay township, Rizal province east of Manila, Philippines on Oct. 3, 2009. Local residents make their way through floodwaters in Taytay township, Rizal province east of Manila, Philippines on Oct. 3, 2009.

Officials in the Philippines say a powerful typhoon has hit a northern province, toppling trees, cutting power lines and tearing the roofs off buildings. Authorities say Typhoon Parma, known locally as Pepeng, made landfall Saturday in the province of Cagayan. No casualties have been reported.

Major flooding that had been expected in Manila was averted when the storm veered to the north. A deadly storm just a week ago caused the worst flooding in the capital city in decades.

President Gloria Arroyo has declared a "state of calamity" throughout the island nation and ordered mass evacuations of six provinces.

Typhoon Parma is forecast to bring wind gusts gusts of over 200 kilometers per hour along with drenching rain likely to cause considerable flooding in the northern part of the Philippines.

Arroyo's declaration of emergency frees up funds to help the government respond to emergencies.

The commander of U.S. troops in the Pacific region, Admiral Timothy Keating, says two U.S. Navy ships with several hundred Marines on board are off the coast of Manila, ready to help after the typhoon passes.

Parma also is expected to make conditions worse for nearly 700,000 people forced into emergency shelters by Typhoon Ketsana. After plowing through the Philippines, Typhoon Ketsana storm ripped across Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It killed more than 290 people in the Philippines, nearly 100 in Vietnam and at least 14 in Cambodia. The Red Cross in Laos says 16 people have been killed and at least 100 others are missing.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

VOA News / Oct. 03, 2009 22:16 KST