12 dead as Typhoon Parma whips Philippines

A NASA satellite image shows Typhoon Parma as it headed toward the Philippines on Friday.
Typhoon Parma crossed the northern tip of the already storm-battered Philippines on Saturday and early Sunday, triggering landslides that killed at least 12 people, local media reported.

Fears are now growing the storm will stall near the Philippines, dumping more rain on the island nation which is still reeling from a typhoon last week. The deaths included children ages 8 and 10, a local reporter who was at the scene of both landslides told CNN. Parma made landfall Saturday afternoon in a rural region of fishermen and farmers in Luzon, the largest of the Philippine islands. Tens of thousands of people fled their homes for safer shelter. Winds whipped the coastline and felled power lines in northernmost Cagayan Province. Debris littered the roads, making evacuations more difficult. Parma, known locally as Typhoon Pepeng, avoided a direct hit on heavily populated Manila, but the real menace in the Philippines capital was water, not wind. The typhoon is expected to dump as much as 8 to 20 inches of rain in areas still water-logged from last week’s Typhoon Ketsana. That storm resulted in the heaviest rainfall in 40 years and at one point, 80 percent of Manila was submerged. Ketsana, which swallowed whole houses and buses, killed 246 in the Philippines. It later strengthened into a typhoon. An additional 38 are missing, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said. The storm affected nearly 2 million people. Parma avoided a direct hit on heavily populated Manila, but the real menace in the Philippines capital was not wind. It was water, and there was no escape from it. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro appealed to Filipinos to remain in shelters even if they were in cities and towns not directly in Parma’s path. He said he was worried about massive flooding and possible mudslides in mountainous regions. The government deployed 10,000 troops to help with rescue and relief operations as frightened Filipinos prepared for the worst.

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World Vision, the Christian humanitarian organization, was planning to launch relief operations Saturday evening in Isabela Province, one of the areas slammed by Parma. The group also plans assistance for nearby Cagayan province, whose capital, Tuguegarao, is being hit hard by Parma’s strong winds. Arturo Fidelino, a telecommunications executive in Manila, described panicked people rushing to stock up on essential goods — drinking water, canned food and electrical supplies. “We had a traumatic experience when we had Ketsana,” he said. “We don’t want that to happen again.”

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo placed the country “under the state of calamity.” Macapagal-Arroyo said disaster-relief crews in vulnerable areas must be equipped with life-saving kits, boats, portable generators and trucks.