New Typhoon Nears Philippines

A new powerful typhoon is moving toward the storm-battered Philippines but will likely spare the capital, Manila, the country's chief weather forecaster reported.

Still, disaster response agencies and the Philippine military are readying their responses and encouraging villagers to leave disaster-prone communities days ahead of Typhoon Lupit's Wednesday landfall to avoid panic.

Since Sept. 26, the Philippines has been reeling from the effects of two devastating typhoons – Ketsana and Parma.

Ketsana, also known as Ondoy, drenched the Philippines with its heaviest rainfall in 40 years and flooded 80 percent of Manila before moving over to Vietnam.

One week later, on Oct.3, Typhoon Parma made landfall, killing 438 people and destroying 55,000 homes.

To date, the death toll from two devastating storms is at 858 and still climbing.

Meanwhile, health officials say 1.7 million people exposed to floodwaters in and around metropolitan Manila from the last storms are being threatened by leptospirosis, a disease spread by water contaminated with urine of infected animals.

Of the 1,336 people who have been brought to hospitals for treatment, officials say the disease has killed 96.

Lupit, which is packing winds of 109 miles per hour, could clip the northern Philippines on Wednesday or veer toward Taiwan.

Locally known as Ramil, Lupit is the 18th tropical storm to threaten the country this year and is the Filipino word for "cruel."

About 20 typhoons or storms lash the Philippines annually.