Typhoon Heads to Japan, Storm Stalls Over Philippines

By Manny Mogato | October 6, 2009

Tropical storm Parma stalled for two days off northwestern Philippines, was slowly heading toward the country’s tobacco-producing region on Tuesday, after killing at least 22 people.

Right behind it is Typhoon Melor, a category 4 storm currently south of Okinawa and on a path that could take it over Tokyo by Thursday, according to the weather tracking website Tropical Storm Risk.

A category 4 storm can pack winds of between 211 and 250 kph.

Parma, downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday, was meandering off the northern tip of the Philippines, about 110 km (68 miles) north-northwest of the Ilocos region, Nathaniel Cruz, the weather bureau’s chief forecaster, said.

“Parma moved much closer to the Ilocos region because Typhoon Melor is influencing its movement,” Cruz said, adding it was not expected to make landfall and may move southwest towards the South China Sea in the next three days.

It is typhoon season in the Philippines and Parma has been drenching the northern part of the country about a week after a previous storm dumped an average month’s worth of rain in one day on Greater Manila, displacing nearly a half-million people.

Manila is still cleaning up from the floods.

TAIWAN LIFTS WARNING

Parma, with winds of up to 105 kph, was still expected to cause some more damage, and is dumping torrential rains over Taiwan. Taiwan’s central weather bureau, however, lifted its land warning as the storm moved away from the island.

Nearly 8,000 people were evacuated as rainfall reached as high as 1,414 mm in the mountains near Taiwan’s east coast, disaster officials said.

Stung by accusations of a slow response to an August typhoon that killed about 770 people, mostly in rain-triggered mudslides, Taiwan required evacuations ahead of Parma.

Parma slammed into the northern Philippines on Saturday, triggering floods and landslides and destroying nearly 800 million pesos ($16.8 million) in crops and infrastructure in the country, according to officials and radio reports.

More than 300,000 people were affected and a third of those were in temporary shelters. Power and communications have yet to be restored in some areas.

Ketsana, the typhoon that hit the capital city area more than a week ago, killed 300 people and caused about 7.63 billion pesos damage to crops, mostly rice about to be harvested.

About 2.7 billion pesos in infrastructure — roads, bridges and schools — were also damaged, disaster officials said.

The government is preparing a 10-billion peso supplementary budget to finance relief work and may issue dollar-denominated bonds of $250-500 million to fund it, in addition to previous plans to issue yen bonds

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said rice stocks were sufficient for the year despite the crop damage. Any imports would be for 2010 requirements and these would be done at “an appropriate time”, he said.

The United Nations is also raising $75 million, appealing to member-states and donor agencies to help in the relief and rehabilitation work in typhoon-hit areas in the Philippines.

(Additional reporting by Ralph Jennings in TAIPEI)
(Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Bill Tarrant)

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