Typhoon veers away from Philippines

Powerful winds have struck the Philippines as the second typhoon in eight days hits the country while Taiwan evacuates villages also in the path of the storm.

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Powerful winds toppled power poles and trees in the northern Philippines today as the second typhoon in eight days bore down on the country. Farther north, Taiwan began evacuating villages also in the path of the storm. The Philippines is still reeling from a September 26 typhoon that caused the worst flooding in 40 years, killing 288. Officials said the risk of another major disaster was easing because the new storm, Typhoon Parma, had changed direction slightly and was no longer headed for heavily populated regions of the main island of Luzon. But heavy rain was falling across a swath of Luzon that is still flooded, and violent winds were battering the far-north province of Cagayan. Trees were uprooted and power pylons toppled in the provincial capital of Tuguegarao, a local government official Bonifacio Cuarteros said. "We pray that we won't have a worse outcome, but with this kind of situation, we cannot really say," he said.

Parma was due to strike the Philippines' northeastern tip tonight, instead of hitting north-central Luzon this afternoon, as earlier forecast. It was packing sustained winds that had also weakened slightly, to 175kph, down from 195kph on Friday. The better news for the Philippines was bad news for Taiwan, which issued a storm warning and began moving people out of villages in the southern county of Kaohsiung, said a local official Lin Chun-chieh. Flash flooding from the last typhoon to hit Kaohsiung killed about 700 people in August. Typhoon Ketsana last month damaged the homes of more than three million people in the Philippines. *AP