Typhoon batters northern Philippines

October 3rd, 2009 - 1:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Manila, Oct 3 (DPA) A powerful typhoon Saturday battered extreme northern Philippines with forceful winds and heavy rains, but spared the capital and surrounding areas still recovering from devastating floods.
Typhoon Parma toppled trees and ripped off rooftops in Cagayan province, 405 km north of Manila, hours before it was set to make landfall in the town of Santa Ana Saturday evening.

“Angry winds are now battering our area and it would be disastrous if the impact would be stronger,” police regional commander Chief Superintendent Roberto Damian told DPA by telephone.

Damian, who also heads the regional disaster coordinating council, said many roads were impassable due to uprooted trees while electricity has been cut off since the morning in the affected provinces.

“We have also been receiving numerous telephone calls about roofs being ripped off,” he said.

The weather bureau said typhoon Parma was packing maximum sustained winds of 175 km per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 210 kph.

It shifted its track away from Manila and nearby provinces, where more than 3 million people were still coping with devastation from the worst floods in over 40 years last week.

More than 33,000 people in Manila as well as eastern and northern provinces fled their homes as part of a preemptive evacuation ordered by the government.

Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, who heads the National Disaster Coordinating Council, urged the public not to become complacent despite the change.

“While the storm has changed course, it does not mean there will be no rains,” he said over radio. “We’re not yet sure if it will not rain and if it will not flood again”.

On Sep 26, tropical storm Ketsana dumped a month’s worth of rain in Manila and surrounding provinces, killing 288 people. More than 400,000 people were in evacuation centres after losing their homes.

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