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'State of Calamity' in Philippines as Typhoon Nears


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Philippine Islands President Gloria Arroyo has declared a "state of calamity" throughout the island nation, which lies in the path of a second major storm in days.

Typhoon Parma is forecast to hit the Philippine's east coast on Saturday, bringing with it sustained winds of nearly 200 kilometers per hour.

Mrs. Arroyo has ordered evacuations from six provinces likely to feel the typhoon's strongest effects. Her declaration of emergency frees up funds to help the government respond to emergencies.

Philippine officials are warning that Parma (known locally as Pepeng) could compound flooding in Manila caused by last week's Typhoon Ketsana, which killed more than 400 people across southeast Asia.

The U.N. World Food Program is trying to provide food this month to about one million people affected by the flooding.

Parma also is expected to make conditions worse for nearly 700,000 people who were forced into emergency shelters by Typhoon Ketsana.

After plowing through the Philippines, that storm ripped across Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It killed more than 290 people in the Philippines, nearly 100 in Vietnam and at least 14 in Cambodia. The Red Cross in Laos says 16 people have been killed and at least 100 others are missing.

The WFP says it is expanding operations in Laos to reach 250,000 people affected by Ketsana, which hit the southern part of the country Wednesday. The agency is sending rice and canned fish to Sekong and Attapeu provinces, where more than 90 percent of land has been flooded.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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