Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Alarm and a state of emergency in the Philippines for the imminent arrival in the north of typhoon Liput, which in local language means "cruel". According to the forecast the typhoon could hit the coasts of Luzon even today and would be the 18th natural disaster of the season for the country. But Liput, has an erratic path, which is causing consternation among meteorologists unable to pinpoint the day and the areas where it will land.
In recent days, the army has taken steps to transfer its resources from the coast and to secure shipping in areas where it is expected to arrive. The authorities of the provinces in the north have evacuated about 1,500 people living along the Cagayan River in anticipation of flooding, and thousands of city dwellers in Appari have fled their homes.
Nathaniel Cruz, head of the meteorologists who are following Lupit said that the typhoon has dropped in intensity and is now travelling at 120km per hour with gusts reaching 150 km per hour.
In recent months the Philippines has suffered flooding, landslides and disease, because of tropical storms Ketsana and Parma: over a thousand dead and nearly 1.3 million homeless.
Ketsana mainly hit the area around Manila, while Parma raged for days in the northwest in Luzon. Now the population of both regions is facing an bacteria epidemic that has infected almost 2 thousand people and caused 148 deaths.
Manila has requested international aid. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has postponed her departure for Thailand, for the ASEAN summit which begins today, the association that brings together the countries of South-east Asia, to follow the developments of the emergency.