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Typhoon skirts the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Typhoon Parma cut a path across the Philippines' northern edge on Saturday, killing four people but sparing the capital from a second flood disaster as the storm churned toward Taiwan.

Tens of thousands of Filipinos had evacuated their homes as the storm bore down on the main island of Luzon just eight days after an earlier storm left Manila awash in floods that killed almost 300 people.

Also helping to reduce the damage, Parma weakened slightly and changed course overnight Friday so that it missed central Luzon and clipped the more sparsely populated and mountainous north.

Still, winds of 108 mph battered towns in at least two provinces and pelted the northeast of the country with downpours that swelled rivers to bursting, toppled power pylons and trees, and cut communication lines to outlying towns, officials said.

Parma was heading northwest toward Taiwan, which declared a storm warning Saturday and began evacuating villages in southern Kaohsiung county, where 700 people were killed in a typhoon in August.

"The typhoon could bring torrential rain and trigger flash flooding, so government agencies should be prepared," Vice Premier Eric Chu was quoted as saying by the government-owned Central News Agency.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council said another two people died from the storm in the eastern province of Camarines Sur — one man fell from a roof and a two-year-old boy drowned.

Parma hit the coast of Taiwan mid-afternoon Saturday, and local officials said the true extent of damage would not be known until communications were restored with outlying areas today or later.

"The damage is quite heavy," Roberto Damian, the police chief of Cagayan province, told ABS-CBN television. "We are clearing highways and roads to reach people calling for rescue."

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