The death toll from Typhoon Parma rose to 16 after the powerful storm sparked landslides in two northern villages in the Philippines.

Senior Superintendent Loreto Espineli said Sunday that a family of five died when their home in a village in Benguet province was buried, The Associated Press reported. Another seven people where killed when a house was buried in a nearby town.

Parma cut across the northern tip of the Philippines on Saturday, tearing up roofs, trees and electricity poles a week after an earlier storm caused the country's worst flooding in more than 40 years.

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Evacuees line up in flood waters to receive packaged meals and bottled water Saturday in San Pedro, south of Manila. ((Bullit Marquez/Associated Press))

Earlier, in the province of Isabela, one man drowned and another died from exposure to the cold and wet weather, army Lt.-Col. Loreto Magundayao said.

The National Disaster Co-ordinating Council said two other people died in eastern Camarines Sur, as one man fell from a roof and a two-year-old boy drowned.

Tens of thousands of Filipinos fled to higher ground as Parma bore down on the main island of Luzon.

In the province of Cagayan, trees were uprooted and power poles toppled in the provincial capital of Tuguegarao. Buildings had their roofs torn off. Similar damage was reported in neighbouring Isabela.

But Manila, the nation's capital, escaped the worst of the storm.

The rapid accumulation of water is the biggest concern as parts of the Philippines, especially near Manila, remain under water.

A major concern is landslides. On the rain-saturated mountains in the north, dirty brown waterfalls are carving gouges into the landscape. As more rain falls, people fear that chunks of earth may come crashing into their homes.

Parma was not expected to cause as much damage as tropical storm Ketsana, which killed at least 288 people and damaged the homes of three million more.

Still, the powerful typhoon, with maximum winds gusting to 175 km/h, is putting the lives of about two million evacuees at risk.

With files from The Associated Press