At least two dead as Typhoon Koppu hits Philippines

At least two dead as Typhoon Koppu hits Philippines

At least two people have died after a typhoon hit a province in the Philippines.

Army, police and civilian volunteers scrambled to rescue hundreds of villagers trapped in their flooded homes and on rooftops in the north-eastern Philippine province of Aurora battered by slow-moving Typhoon Koppu.

The typhoon blew ashore with fierce wind and heavy rains early on Sunday, leaving at least two dead, forcing more than 16,000 villagers from their homes, and leaving nine provinces without electricity.

But after its landfall, the typhoon weakened, hemmed in by the Sierra Madre mountain range and a high pressure area in the country’s north and another typhoon far out in the Pacific in the east, government forecasters said.

By this morning Koppu was located over Ilocos Norte province with winds of 74 miles per hour and gusts of up to 93 mph.

Several of the affected provinces, led by Nueva Ecija, were inundated by flash floods that swelled rivers and cascaded down mountainsides, trapping villagers in their homes and on rooftops, said Nigel Lontoc of the Office of Civil Defence.

“There were some people who needed to be rescued from the roofs of their homes,” Mr Lontoc told The Associated Press. “But our rescuers couldn’t penetrate because the flood waters were still high.”

Hundreds of soldiers, police and volunteers have converged on Nueva Ecija, a landlocked, rice-growing province in the heartland of the main northern Luzon island, to help villagers whose homes had been flooded, said Mr Lontoc, adding there have been no deaths reported so far in Nueva Ecija’s flooding.

Koppu’s winds knocked down trees and electric posts, leaving nine provinces without power.

A teenager was killed by a fallen tree, which also injured four people and damaged three houses in metropolitan Manila. In Subic town, north-west of Manila, a concrete wall collapsed and killed a 62-year-old woman and injured her husband, officials said.

President Benigno Aquino III and disaster-response agencies had warned that Koppu’s rain and winds may potentially bring more damage with its slow speed. But government forecasters said that there was less heavy rain than expected initially in some areas, including in Manila, but that fierce winds lashed many regions.

Koppu, Japanese for “cup”, is the 12th storm to hit the Philippines this year. An average of 20 storms and typhoons each year batter the archipelago, one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most ferocious storms on record to hit land, swept through the central Philippines, devastating entire towns and leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing.

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