Philippines braces for next storm

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Philippines, still reeling from the destructive Typhoon Ketsana just days before, is bracing for another strike from Typhoon Parma, which is expected to hit the region on Saturday.

Ketsana brought torrential rains to the northern Philippines on Saturday, inundating most of the capital Manila and surrounding provinces. Scores of people were killed and many are still missing. Overall, Ketsana affected nearly two million people.

Now Parma, a "super typhoon" packing winds of 150 miles per hour, is threatening to devastate the region again. The storm could be more powerful than Ketsana: "We are dealing with a very strong typhoon (and) there is a big possibility that this typhoon will gather more strength," said Nathaniel Cruz, a forecaster in the Philippines.

Officials are preparing evacuation plans, and refugees from the prior flooding were advised to remain in shelters and avoid returning to their homes.

The thought of another disaster is unbearable for some residents. Glen Juban, who lost his 4 year-old daughter to Typhoon Ketsana, said, "I hope the typhoon will hit another place. We've been hit so hard. The situation now is just so difficult and I don't know if we can take some more, another calamity."

Elnora Avarientos, World Vision's chief in the Philippines, was also concerned. "Families are now just starting to pick up what was left of their lives. Now, I'm afraid [...] Typhoon Parma would make it a lot harder for the affected families to cope and for the relief [...] agencies to respond," Avarientos said.