2nd typhoon lashes northern Philippines

 Powerful winds toppled power poles and trees Saturday in the northern Philippines as the second typhoon in eight days bore down on the country. Farther north, Taiwan began evacuating villages also in the path of the storm.

The Philippines is still reeling from a Sept. 26 typhoon that caused the worst flooding in 40 years and killed 288 people. Officials said Typhoon Parma, was no longer headed for the same heavily populated regions devastated by the earlier storm.

But heavy rain was falling across a swath of the main island of Luzon that is still flooded, and violent winds were battering far-north provinces.

Trees were uprooted and power pylons toppled in the provincial capital of Tuguegarao, local government official Bonifacio Cuarteros told The Associated Press by telephone. In neighboring Isabella, gusting winds knocked a rider off his motorcycle in the street, and trees and billboards were also blown down.

"We pray that we won't have a worse outcome, but with this kind of situation, we cannot really say," Cuarteros said.

Residents go on with their normal life amidst floodwaters in Taytay township, Rizal province, east of Manila, Philippines Friday Oct. 2, 2009

Parma was due to strike the Philippines' northeastern tip sometime after dark Saturday, packing sustained winds that had weakened slightly overnight to 108 mph (175 kph), the national weather bureau said.

Senior forecaster Prisco Nilo warned that heavy rains could trigger landslides and flooding, and strong winds could also create tidal surges "similar to a tsunami" along the eastern coast.

Earlier, chief forecaster Nathaniel Cruz said the risk of a new deluge in Manila had lessened because the storm had changed course, but said it was still dangerous in the north.

"It is good news, especially for those whose houses are still under water," Cruz said. "But 175 (kph winds) can still uproot trees and destroy houses and blown down roofs."

Taiwan issued a storm warning and began moving people out of villages in the southern county of Kaohsiung, said local official Lin Chun-chieh. Flash flooding from the last typhoon to hit the Kaohsiung killed about 700 people in August.

"The typhoon could bring torrential rain and trigger flash flooding, so government agencies should be prepared," Vice Premier Eric Chu was quoted as saying by the government-owned Central News Agency.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said in a statement that the military would be on standby to help relief efforts if necessary.

Typhoon Ketsana last month damaged the homes of more than 3 million people in the Philippines. It went on to hit other Southeast Asian countries, killing 99 in Vietnam, 14 in Cambodia and 16 in Laos.

It was part of more than a week of destruction in the Asia-Pacific region that has claimed more than 1,500 lives so far: an earthquake Wednesday in Indonesia; a tsunami Tuesday in the Samoan islands; and Typhoon Ketsana across Southeast Asia.

source AFP

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