Typhoon Parma kills 17 in the Philippines

October 4th, 2009 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Manila, Oct 4 (DPA) At least 17 people were killed when a powerful typhoon pummelled the north-eastern Philippines, cutting off power and communication in at least five provinces, officials said Sunday.
Authorities said damage reports were piling up after typhoon Parma swept through extreme northern provinces overnight.

“The typhoon caused a lot of damage, but we are still assessing the situation,” said Chito Castro, director of a regional civil defence office. “In our camp alone, the destruction was massive, with many uprooted trees and toppled electric posts.”

Most of the reported fatalities were in two landslides in Benguet province, 210 km north of Manila.

Seven people, including two children, died when a landslide swept a house at the edge of a ravine in Itogon town at the height of Parma’s onslaught, said Senior Superintendent Loreto Espinili, the provincial police commander.

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

Espinili said five people were also killed in a landslide in nearby La Trinidad town, also in Benguet.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council said one man died when he fell from his roof and a two-year-old drowned while crossing a swollen spillway in the eastern province of Camarines Sur.

One man died from hypothermia and another drowned in floods in the northern province of Isabela, while one was swept by away by strong river currents in Pangasinan province, police said.

The mountain resort city of Baguio was hit with flashfloods, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. Several roads in nearby mountain towns remained impassable due to landslides.

Typhoon Parma slammed into the Philippines Saturday with maximum winds of 175 km per hour (kph), forcing nearly 170,000 people to flee their homes amid warnings of devastating effects.

The entire provinces of Cagayan, Apayao, Kalinga and Abra were without power since Saturday, while a large portion of Mountain province also experienced outages.

Parma’s winds toppled trees and ripped roofs off houses, while heavy rains caused floods and landslides that damaged crops and blocked roads.

The typhoon spared Manila and surrounding provinces that were devastated by the worst flooding in over 40 years caused by storm Ketsana, which killed 288 people with 42 still missing.

Over 3 million people were still recovering from the floods, including more than 370,000 staying in evacuation centres.

The weather bureau said Parma has weakened after crossing extreme northern Philippines on its way out to the South China Sea.

The typhoon, however, was almost stationary between the Philippines’ northern tip and Taiwan.

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