Powerful typhoon hits Philippines

Strong typhoon Koppu hits northeastern Philippines, damaging homes and roads, displacing 10,000 people

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Small fishing boats are placed by the seawall as strong winds and slight rain brought by Typhoon Koppu hit Manila, Philippines Sunday, October 18, 2015

Powerful typhoon Koppu ploughed into the northeastern Philippines before dawn on Sunday destroying homes and displacing 10,000 people and whipping up coastal surges four metres (12 feet) high, disaster agency officials said.

There were no reports of casualties after the category four typhoon, with central destructive winds of 175 km per hour (109 mile per hour), made landfall around 1 a.m. (17:00 GMT) near the town of Casiguran in Aurora province.

Koppu dumped heavy rain, causing flooding and damaging roads and bridges, and toppled power and communication lines.

"There are still no reports of casualty, thank God," said Alexander Pama, executive director of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

"Initially, many houses were destroyed, power lines toppled and trees were blocking major roads," he said, adding 10,000 people had been displaced in northeastern Luzon, the country's main island.

The weather bureau said Koppu will remain over Luzon for three days due to high pressure in the north and another typhoon in the northwest Pacific.

Casiguran town, where Koppu hit, was isolated, local radio dzBB reported. "We expect some damages on public infrastructure and agriculture," Norma Talosig, regional disaster agency head in rice-producing Cagayan Valley.

Junie Cua, governor of Quirino province, said toppled electric posts and trees were making it hard for emergency workers to reach isolated communities.

Authorities said 30 flights and ferry services in the north were grounded. Some commuter buses suspended services due to threats of landslides in mountain areas.

On Friday, President Benigno Aquino appealed on television for people not to panic and to start making preparations. The last time Aquino made a televised appeal was in 2013, the day before super typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines, killing more than 6,300 people and leaving millions homeless.

An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year.

Powerful typhoon Koppu with central winds of 175 km per hour (109 mile per hour) hits northeastern Philippines , displaces 10,000 people