Philippines Faces Second Storm as Typhoon Approaches (Update3)
By Aaron Sheldrick and Francisco Alcuaz Jr.
Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) — Philippines officials said they may order evacuations as Supertyphoon Parma headed for the country, threatening more heavy rains a week after Tropical Storm Ketsana devastated parts of Manila in Luzon and left 277 people dead.
“We will ask local governments to initiate forced evacuations,” Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, an Army battalion commander in Laguna province south of Manila, said in a phone interview. “I have stationed troops around the area, along with rubber boats, in case they are needed.”
Parma’s winds increased to 241 kilometers (150 miles) per hour today, according to the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center, making it a Category 4 storm, the second-strongest on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It is forecast to hit northern Luzon on Oct. 3, according to the Philippines weather agency.
The government “should prepare for the worst,” said Jose Bersales, emergency affairs director of World Vision Philippines, which is providing food and aid to 20,000 survivors of Ketsana. Forced evacuations are “very tricky but, if there are clear indicators and political will, they can be done.”
Parma, which is referred to as Pepeng by the Philippines weather agency, was 666 kilometers east of the city of Tacloban southwest of Manila at 8 a.m. local time, the typhoon center said. The storm’s winds were gusting to 296 kph and waves near the eye are as high as 6 meters (19 feet).
Navy forecasters designated Parma as a supertyphoon when its wind speed reached 240 kph. Its winds are forecast to strengthen to 259 kph by 8 a.m. tomorrow, making it a Category 5 storm, the strongest on the Saffir-Simpson scale of cyclone strength.
Such storms are capable of causing “catastrophic damage” and can blow roofs off residential and industrial buildings, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
The Navy’s five-day forecast indicates Parma will cross Luzon and head toward Taiwan, where more than 600 people were killed in August when Typhoon Morakot blew across the island.
To the east of Parma, Tropical Storm Melor strengthened to a typhoon with winds of 120 kph, according to the Navy center.
Melor was 906 kilometers east of the U.S. territory of Guam at 8 a.m. Manila time today, the typhoon center said. The storm was moving west-northwest at 9 kph.
The storm’s winds are forecast to strengthen to 139 kph within 24 hours. The Navy’s forecast track shows it crossing the island chain of Saipan north of Guam and heading toward the southern islands of Japan during the next five days.
The United Nations, which is assessing needs to make an appeal for aid for damage from Tropical Storm Ketsana, said it is making preparations for Parma.
“All the UN agencies involved in the emergency response, including UNICEF and WFP, are gearing up and replenishing stocks of emergency supplies so that they can respond quickly to any intensification of the emergency,” UN resident coordinator Jacqui Baddock said in an e-mail. “Another onslaught of wind and rain will test many of the departments and agencies involved.”
Ketsana blew across Luzon on Sept. 26 dumping a month’s worth of rain in six hours and flooding most of Manila and surrounding areas.
The death toll increased from 246 yesterday, the Philippines disaster council said in its latest report today. More than 2.5 million people were affected by Ketsana and 686,699 are in evacuation centers. Forty-two people are missing.
The Philippine government has declared a “state of calamity” for the Manila metropolitan region and other parts of Luzon island as well as Mindoro island to the south.
“Pre-emptive evacuations will start with the local governments when there is certainty that it will hit,” Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro told reporters in Manila yesterday.
Ketsana smashed into central Vietnam two days ago as a typhoon with winds of 167 kilometers per hour, killing at least 74 people in the country. At least 12 people are missing.
The storm left at least 11 people dead in Cambodia after crossing Vietnam, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday.
Ketsana is the name of a tree in Laos, according to the Hong Kong Observatory, which lists names in use for Pacific storms on its Web site. Parma is the name of a ham and chicken dish in Macau.
SOURCE: Bloomberg Online, news?pid=20601087&sid=at_I8HhvX6Ss