MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos braced Friday to be whipped by powerful winds and pelted with rain from a second typhoon in eight days, fleeing by the tens of thousands from low-lying areas and suspending cleanup operations in the flooded capital.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared a nationwide ""state of calamity' and ordered mass evacuations of six provinces in the path of Typhoon Parma, which was expected to hit the main island of Luzon midafternoon today.
Parma threatened to expand more than a week of destruction in the Asia-Pacific region that has claimed more than 1,500 lives so far: an earthquake Wednesday in Indonesia; a tsunami Tuesday in the Samoan islands; and Typhoon Ketsana across Southeast Asia.
Cedric Daep, a top disaster official in the Philippines' Albay province, said officials there had evacuated almost 50,000 people to shelters on higher ground.
Police and the military were helping people to leave flood- or landslide-prone areas across the north and east, where heavy rain fell Friday.
""Our objective is zero casualties,' Daep told The Associated Press.
Parts of the capital, Manila, were still awash from the worst floods in 40 years caused by Ketsana on Sept. 26. Almost 300 people were killed and more than 2 million had swamped homes.
In Quezon City, where muddy brown water was still chest-deep, residents turned from cleaning up after Ketsana to trying to secure their belongings from the risk of more flooding.
""We do not know what to do or where we can go,' resident Bebang De Los Santos said. ""We don't have a way out and this is the only place that is safe, but we don't have any shelter.'
In Albay, laundry worker Mely Malate fled with her husband and six children to an evacuation center, spurred by memories of a storm three years ago.
""During the last typhoon, we were trapped inside the house by the flood waters and we had to climb to the roof,' she said. ""We are scared whenever there is a storm. When we left this morning, the river was already higher than normal.'
Arroyo's ""state of calamity' declaration frees up government funds to respond to emergencies.
Parma was forecast to cross the coast of the main island of Luzon north of Manila, packing sustained winds of up to 120 mph, gusting up to 140 mph. If the sustained winds reach 133 mph, Parma will get the official designation ""super-typhoon,' the government's weather bureau said.