World Bulletin / News Desk
Thousands of people have been evacuated in the northern Philippines as Typhoon Koppu made landfall Sunday, destroying houses and knocking over trees and power lines.
While no casualties were reported, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council in Manila said officials were still gathering reports from the field as the storm swept through the area packing winds of up to 210 kilometers (130 miles) per hour.
According to the Council’s 3 p.m. (0700GMT) report, 1,074 families – or 4,018 individuals – had been evacuated in Aurora province, where strong winds toppled power towers, causing widespread power outage.
The state-run Philippine News Agency cited the army as saying that the towns of Casiguran, Dinalungan and Dilasag were left isolated due to floods and landslides that destroyed many houses in the region.
Meanwhile, ABS-CBN News showed photos of policemen wading through chest-deep floodwater and extending ropes to rescue civilians trapped in their homes.
Other images showed toppled trees and blown away galvanized iron roofs.
Corazon J. Soliman, Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary, told the Manila Times that the evacuation of families in low-lying and coastal areas is ongoing as the slow-moving typhoon – locally called “Lando” -- is forecast to linger over the country.
“We have advised them [those staying in low-lying areas prone to floods and landslides] to do their part in ensuring zero casualty so that damage to lives and any other untoward incidents can be lessened,” she said.
Koppu had weakened upon making landfall early Sunday morning, and the U.S. navy’s Pearl Harbor-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast that its winds were expected to decrease to 130 kph by evening.
GMA News reported that the Philippines’ weather agency had revised its warning signals, downgrading storm signal 4 in Aurora to storm signal 3, meaning that winds of up to 170 kph could be expected through Monday morning.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has placed the Metro Manila area under storm signal 2, forecasting winds of up to 120 kph in 24 hours.
Meanwhile, at least 18 international and domestic flights have been canceled, according to the Manila International Airport Authority.
More than 30 other flights have been delayed, the Inquirer reported.
Koppu is forecast to move northwestward Monday before weakening into a tropical storm by Tuesday, according to PAGASA. After exiting the Philippine islands Thursday, it is expected to remain within the country’s Area of Responsibility until Friday.
The agency had earlier announced that Koppu would remain in the area longer due to another typhoon called "Champi" to the east, which has also been lingering in the region due to a high pressure area to the north.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development said in a statement Sunday that based on initial reports, at least 3,315 families -- or 13,016 people – were accommodated at 108 evacuation centers managed by local government units.
Relief supplies were also being provided to 277 families -- or 1,406 individuals -- outside evacuation centers.
Koppu is the 24th named storm of 2015 in the northwest Pacific Ocean and the 15th to reach typhoon strength.
The Philippines suffers around 20 typhoons and storms each year, many of them deadly.
In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan -- one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded -- struck the country’s central islands, leaving more than 8,000 people dead, missing and injured.Last Mod: 18 Ekim 2015, 13:25