Typhoon Parma left a trail of destruction and three reported deaths in its wake as it barrelled its way across the northern Philippines.
Typhoon adds to Philippines' woes
Manila // Typhoon Parma left a trail of destruction and three reported deaths in its wake as it barrelled its way across the northern Philippines yesterday, packing winds of up to 175 kph. The typhoon slammed into Cagayan, the northern province on the main island of Luzon, in mid-afternoon after taking an unexpected turn earlier in the day. The weather bureau had expected the typhoon to make landfall further south, in Manila, where the clean-up operation was continuing after a tropical storm caused major flooding in last weekend that killed almost 300 people.
Ketsana dumped more than a month's rain on the metropolis of 12 million in just six hours on September 26, whereas Parma caused only intermittent rain throughout the day yesterday. After being accused of not preparing the country properly for Ketsana, the president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, on Friday placed the Philippines under a "state of calamity" to expedite relief efforts and get ready for Parma.
In Taiwan, people were told to leave their homes yesterday as the island prepared for the typhoon. Parts of Manila and its outskirts remained flooded one week after the disasters, and even relatively small amounts of water could cause problems for dangerously swollen rivers and lakes. On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, hit by an earthquake last week, rescue teams found entire villages obliterated by landslides and survivors desperate for aid.
In the coast city of Padang, rescuers combed through collapsed buildings for thousands of people that are believed to be buried beneath the wreckage. The colossal damage that destroyed buildings and roads hampered the aid effort. In remote areas outside the city, the full scale of the disaster was only starting to become clear: villages were wiped out and survivors were drinking coconut water because water sources were contaminated.
Landslides wiped out at least three villages, killing as many as 644 people officials said. If all 644 are confirmed dead - as is likely - the death toll from Wednesday's quake would jump to more than 1,300. The government's death toll currently is 715. Lastly, the Pacific island of Samoa planned a mass burial on Tuesday for victims of the tsunami that struck last week. The death toll there crept towards 200.
Many families were already burying their loved ones in unmarked graves on high ground less ravaged by Tuesday's walls of water, which wiped out coastal settlements, but Samoa has offered a mass funeral for around 100 others. * With additional reporting by Agence France-Presse and Reuters