Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Sunday, 4 October 2009 12:46 UK

Storm batters north Philippines


Typhoon Parma hits Philippines

Typhoon Parma has pounded the northern Philippines, killing at least 15 people and leaving a trail of destruction.

The storm toppled power lines, tore off roofs and ripped up trees as it swept across the islands' far north-east.

But the capital, Manila, which is still recovering from severe flooding last week, was not affected.

Parma had been thought to be heading to Taiwan, but forecasters say it is now "interacting" with another typhoon and could return to the Philippines.

Philippines government forecaster Nathaniel Cruz said Parma was churning through the South China Sea. Reports say it is close enough to Taiwan to cause heavy rain.

Local police move an electricity pole knocked over by Typhoon Parma in Tuguegarao City, Luzon island
Officials say assessing the damage in northern regions will take time

The typhoon could loop back and pass the northern area of [the main island of] Luzon for a second time, Mr Cruz said, quoted by AFP news agency.

Officials said another typhoon, Melor, was expected to enter Philippine waters from the east on Monday afternoon.

Tens of thousands of residents were evacuated from their homes ahead of Typhoon Parma, amid warnings of a potential disaster.

But a change of course meant Typhoon Parma mainly hit the sparsely-populated mountainous northern region, rather than the flood-hit capital.

Winds of up to 175 km/h (108 mph) and torrential downpours pelted the worst-hit areas, cut telephone and power lines and swelled rivers to bursting point, reports say.

Twelve people were reported killed in landslides in the province of Benguet. Three deaths were reported in other regions.

"The damage is quite heavy. We are clearing highways and roads to reach people calling for rescue," said Roberto Damian, police chief of Cagayan province.

The area around Manila is still recovering from Typhoon Ketsana, which triggered flooding that left nearly 300 people dead in the Philippines.

Hundreds of thousands remain homeless in and around Manila in the wake of the storm.

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