Typhoon slams into northern Philippines

A powerful typhoon slammed into the northeastern tip of the Philippines today, tearing roofs off houses and uprooting trees, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.





Officials said Typhoon Parma, the strongest typhoon to hit the country since 2006, may not be as destructive as feared since it had made landfall in the sparsely-populated Cagayan province and would weaken over land.



The system brought rain across the main island of Luzon but not as much as feared, especially along the densely-populated west coast where floods in and around Manila from Typhoon Ketsana last week killed nearly 300 people.



"The eye of the typhoon is looping right now in the eastern portion of Cagayan province," chief weather forecaster Nathaniel Cruz told local radio, adding that the typhoon had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph near the centre and gusts of up to 130 mph.



In Manila, a storm signal posted for the capital region overnight was lifted, but officials warned nearly half a million people living in shelters after their homes were flooded last week to stay put.



"There is still a risk of rain," President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said on national television. "We ask the evacuees to stay one more night in evacuation centers.



Authorities in Taiwan issued a sea warning as Parma was likely to enter its southern waters in the next few days.



On the Philippines' east coast, about 2,600 people were left stranded because of impassable roads in the Bicol region and on the island of Catanduanes, relief officials said.



Fallen trees and landslides had blocked roads in Cagayan and neighbouring Isabela province as well.



"So many trees have been uprooted, blocking roads," regional police chief Robert Damian told reporters. "Galvanised iron sheets from houses are flying all over and power and communications are also down."



Some areas had been flooded, but there were no reports of deaths, he said.



Troops are evacuating entire communities from the east coast and almost 100,000 have already been shifted to safer areas, officials said. Arroyo declared a nationwide calamity on Friday to allow local governments to access emergency funds and cap the prices of essential goods.



Officials said some 5.5 billion pesos (£72.5m) in crops, mostly rice about to be harvested, were damaged by Ketsana last week. The damage to bridges and roads was estimated at 1.6 billion pesos (£21m).



The Asia-Pacific region has been hit by a series of natural disasters in recent days, including Ketsana that killed more than 400 in the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.



Tens of thousands were also displaced in southern Laos and flash floods were reported in northern Thailand.



Two powerful earthquakes rocked the Indonesian island of Sumatra, with the death toll likely to be in the thousands, and a tsunami battered American and Western Samoa, killing nearly 150.



In the Philippines, Arroyo ordered a one-year deferment in repayment of loans provided by state pension funds, part of liquidity-boosting measures to protect the economy following the massive typhoon devastation.



She said she would ask the central bank to set up a five-year special rediscounting window to help lenders refinance loans to small and medium-scale businesses, a proposal the central bank said it would study.



Cruz, the weather bureau's chief forecaster, told reporters that while Parma was a powerful typhoon, it would not bring as much rain as Ketsana.



"There will be rains but we will no longer experience the same amount of rainfall that Ketsana dumped last week."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory