Vietnam - Millions of people were battling on Thursday to cope with the aftermath of a typhoon that cut a destructive path through parts of Southeast Asia, killing 400, as an even stronger storm headed toward the Philippines.

Government reports said 101 people had died in Vietnam and 18 were missing after typhoon Ketsana swept through the country late on Tuesday, affecting about 1.4 million people and damaging or submerging more than 350,000 houses.

The typhoon left 11 dead in Cambodia, while the toll in the Philippines, where Ketsana struck last weekend, rose to 277.

The Philippines placed soldiers and civilian emergency teams on the main island of Luzon on alert as an even more powerful super typhoon moved closer. Typhoon Parma was expected to make landfall near northeastern Quirino and Isabela provinces on Luzon by Saturday unless it changed direction.

It's gathering strength into a category 5 typhoon, chief weather forecaster Nathaniel Cruz told Reuters, adding it could be the one of the strongest typhoons to hit the country since November 2006 when Typhoon Durian left death and destruction in the central Philippines.

By Saturday afternoon, Parma could be packing center winds of more than 200 kph and could be weakened once it slams into the Cordillera mountain region in the north.

Gilberto Teodoro, head of the defense and disaster agencies, ordered troops to evacuate coastal and low-lying areas as well as landslide-prone areas in the northern Philippines.

Teodoro has also ordered civilian agencies to stockpile food, water, medicine, fuel and other relief supplies as relief work continued five days after Typhoon Ketsana dumped record-high rain that submerged 80 percent of the capital region and nearby areas.

Initial damage from Ketsana was estimated at $168 million in Vietnam and $101 million for the Philippines, the world's top rice importer, where 2.5 million people were affected by flooding, with 700,000 sheltering in evacuation centers.


In Vietnam, river waters in eight coastal and central highland provinces were receding, but the national weather bureau warned of more flash floods and landslides in mountainous areas and high waters in low-lying regions.

Military rescue teams rushed medicine, food and blankets to flood victims and stranded people were airlifted from houses.

Floodwaters submerged many old houses in Hoi An, a city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, where transport was restricted to boats.

Thailand's Meteorological Department warned of flash floods in 17 northeastern provinces, where troops where standing by to provide humanitarian assistance. Cambodia sent police and troops on a clean-up operation in the northern province of Kompong Thom worst hit by the typhoon.

Ketsana struck far north of the Mekong Delta rice basket. Farmers in Vietnam, the world's largest robusta coffee producer, struggled to dry beans after heavy rains battered the country's growing area, raising quality concern.

Ketsana damaged 740 hectares of rubber and coffee in Daklak, Vietnam's top coffee-growing province where 180,000 hectares of coffee has been planted, a government report said.
(Writing and additional reporting by Ho Binh Minh in HANOI, additional reporting by Manny Mogato in MANILA and Ek Madra in PHNOM PENH; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)