Typhoon leaves 2 dead, 16,000 displaced in Philippines

Typhoon Koppu Hits the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Slow-moving Typhoon Koppu weakened after blowing ashore with fierce winds in the northeastern Philippines on Sunday, leaving at least two people dead, displacing 16,000 villagers and knocking out power in entire provinces, officials said.

Army troops and police were deployed to rescue residents trapped in flooded villages in the hard-hit provinces of Aurora, where the typhoon made landfall early Sunday, and Nueva Ecija, a nearby rice-growing province where floodwaters swamped rice farmlands at harvest time.

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Typhoon leaves 2 dead, 16,000 displaced in Philippines
Fishing outrigger boats are anchored at the mouth of a river feeding Manila Bay on October 17, 2015, as the Philippine coast guard banned sailing due to nearby Typhoon Koppu (local name Lando). Philippine authorities on October 17, 2015, warned that a powerful typhoon will likely linger over the country bringing heavy rains and possible floods and storm surges for almost three days. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Undersecretary Alexander Pama, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) gives a briefing on Typhoon Koppu, locally known as Lando, in suburban Manila on October 17, 2015. Philippine authorities on October 17 warned that a powerful typhoon will likely linger over the country for almost three days, bringing prolonged heavy rain, possible floods and sparking storm surges. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
A man stands near the shore in wind and rain brought on by typhoon Koppu, along Roxas boulevard in Manila on October 18, 2015, as the typhoon hit Aurora province, northeast of Manila. Powerful Typhoon Koppu ripped off roofs, tore down trees and unleashed landslides and floods, forcing thousands to flee as it pummelled the northern Philippines October 18, officials said. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
ZHANJIANG, CHINA - OCTOBER 04: (CHINA OUT) Bicycles and a car are sgiwb damaged by Typhoon Mujigae on October 4, 2015 in Zhanjiang, China. Typhoon Mujigae, the 22nd typhoon this year, made landfall in the coastal city of Zhanjiang in Guangdong province on Sunday afternoon, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA). (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

After slamming into Aurora's Casiguran town after midnight Saturday, the typhoon weakened and slowed down, 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 forecaster Gladys Saludes said.

Howling winds knocked down trees and electric posts, leaving nine entire provinces without power, while floods and small landslides made 25 roads and bridges impassable. Authorities suspended dozens of flights and sea voyages due to the stormy weather, and many cities canceled classes on Monday.

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Typhoon Koppu Brings Strong Winds to Palayan, Philippines

By Sunday afternoon, the typhoon had veered toward the north from a westward course and was barreling across mountainous Nueva Vizcaya province with sustained winds of 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 185 kph (115 mph), according to the government's weather agency.

Satellite images showed that the typhoon appeared to be losing its eye, a sign of its dissipating strength, acting weather bureau chief Esperanza Cayanan said, adding that Koppu was forecast to move at a slow pace of 5 kph (3 mph) across the mountainous north before exiting the main northern island of Luzon on Wednesday.

While weather conditions had begun to improve in some towns, and villagers had started to clear roads of fallen trees and debris, Koppu still packed a ferocity that could set off landslides and flash floods, officials said.

"We're asking our countrymen not to become complacent," said Alexander Pama, who heads the government's disaster-response agency, citing how rainwater could cascade down mountainsides after Koppu passed and flood villages.

That happened in low-lying villages in six towns in Nueva Ecija, near Aurora, where some residents were trapped on rooftops by floodwaters, said Nigel Lontoc of the Office of Civil Defense.

A teenager was pinned to death on Sunday by a fallen tree, which also injured four people and damaged three houses in suburban Quezon city in the Manila metropolis. In Subic town, northwest of Manila, a concrete wall collapsed and killed a 62-year-old woman and injured her husband, Lontoc said.

Three fishermen who had gone missing at sea were rescued off northern Bataan province, and three other missing people were found in an evacuation camp in Aurora's Baler town, he 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 Saludes, the government forecaster, 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, barreled through the central Philippines, leveling entire towns and leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing.

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