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Philippines to brace up for 'super' typhoon: Govt

world Updated: Oct 02, 2009 08:53 IST

The "super typhoon" approaching the Philippines is strong enough to tear apart homes and people should seek refuge in strong structures, the government weather station warned on Friday.

"These gusts are strong enough to destroy houses, to rip the roofs off houses," Nathaniel Cruz, head of the weather forecasting unit, said in a radio interview.

"The best thing we can do for the lives of our countrymen is to look for the strongest building where our countrymen can take refuge while the storm is passing."

His warning came as millions of Filipinos were struggling to recover from tropical storm Ketsana, which killed at least 293 people as it pounded the Manila and surrounding areas with the worst flooding in four decades.

More than three million people were affected by Ketsana, which dumped more than a month's worth of rains in just nine hours on Saturday.

Parma, packing maximum winds of 195 kilometres per hour and gusts of 230 kilometres per hour, was approaching the northern Philippine province of Aurora and its effects could be felt by dawn Saturday.

Cruz said Parma would likely not bring the heavy rains of storm Ketsana that hit the country last weekend, and the worst of it was currently forecast to strike over 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Manila.

But it would still likely bring rain to Manila, compounding the heavy flooding which has not yet receded in large parts of the capital and its surroundings.

Cruz warned people in Aurora and the neighbouring province of Isabela not to be fooled into thinking the typhoon would not wreak havoc, just because the winds had yet to be be felt.

"They might think it isn't something to worry about but from our radar and satellite image, we can see it is an incredibly strong typhoon," he said. Isabela and Auroro are mainly rural, farming areas.

The civil defence office said it was positioning rescue equipment, such as heavy trucks and rubber boats, at strategic areas in the event typhoon Parma hit.