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Storm-hit Philippines 'ready' for new typhoon

by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) Oct 21, 2009
The Philippines prepared for the onslaught of a powerful typhoon Wednesday as it struggled to recover from the damage left by two deadly storms in the past month, officials said.

The government weather station said Typhoon Lupit's advance had slowed, and that it was now likely to hit the country's north on Friday, a day later than forecast.

Lupit will then cross the tip of the main island of Luzon before blowing out to the South China Sea over the weekend, it said.

Rescue and relief units and supplies have already been positioned in parts of the northern Philippines, which are expected to bear the brunt of the typhoon.

"We are alerting the mayors of the towns to be affected. We are ready with a large number of relief goods which can be delivered when needed," said Grace Padaca, governor of the province of Isabela, which lies in Lupit's path.

She said residents were taking all necessary precautions for such storms and that "we are more used to this. We take it as a matter of fact but that is not to say we do not suffer the consequences."

Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said "rescue and relief assets" from both the Philippine and US militaries as well as from the United Nations were on standby.

He said the local authorities in provinces in Lupit's trajectory have been told to prepare to evacuate residents forcibly.

"The best thing we can do (is) for preemptive evacuations to be done on an aggressive basis in vulnerable areas, those that live beside rivers, beside mountains and coastal areas," Teodoro said.

Evacuations, however, are at the discretion of the provincial governments, he added.

State weather forecaster Nathaniel Cruz said Lupit had slightly weakened and will no longer "reach super typhoon strength," which would mean gusts of over 220 kilometres (136 miles) an hour.

"But they (public) should be well prepared not only for strong winds... but also the intense rainfall associated with the passage of this typhoon," he said.

Lupit is set to be the third major storm in less than a month to pound Luzon and many areas remain extremely vulnerable to further bad weather, with dams already overflowing and soaked soil unable to absorb more rain.

Tropical storms Ketsana and Parma claimed nearly 1,000 lives and caused at least 17.7 billion pesos (381 million dollars) worth of damage to the capital, Manila and other areas of Luzon when they hit recently.

More than 216,000 people are still sheltered in makeshift evacuation centres after the two storms caused deadly landslides and massive floods, some of which have not yet receded, the civil defence office said.

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Rescuers in place as typhoon powers towards Philippines
Manila (AFP) Oct 20, 2009
Hundreds of rescuers and tonnes of emergency supplies were put in place across the northern Philippines on Tuesday as Typhoon Lupit threatened to dump more deadly rains on the storm-ravaged region. Preparations were also being made to evacuate residents from areas in the direct path of Lupit, which was packing gusts of up to 230 kilometres (142 miles) an hour and expected to make landfall on ... read more

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