Typhoon Koppu hits Philippines: 1 dead, 8 missing
A TEENAGER was crushed to death as powerful Typhoon Koppu tore down trees and houses, and unleashed landslides and floods across a wide area of the Philippines yesterday, forcing thousands to flee.
At least eight people have been reported missing and military and volunteer rescue teams were dispatched to the rice-farming province of Nueva Ecija where rivers burst their banks and flooded several villages, the authorities said.
"People are asking for help because the floodwaters are rising. The rescuers cannot get to the area as of now," said Nigel Lontoc, the assistant civil defence chief for the region.
Television footage showed raging brown rivers swallowing up homes and carrying off large debris including tree trunks.
ABS-CBN network showed a photograph of blue-clad police holding onto a rope and wading in chest-deep floodwaters to rescue trapped residents.
The government said more than 23,000 people had already been evacuated from the path of Koppu, which also disrupted ferry services and aviation.
The typhoon made landfall before dawn on the remote fishing town of Casiguran, whipping the coast with gusts of up to 210kmh for nearly seven hours before moving inland.
"Koppu tore off roofs of homes made of light materials. Rivers overflowed, and the roads to the area are blocked by downed power pylons and trees," Mr Lontoc said.
A big tree toppled and crushed a house in Manila, killing a 14-year-old boy and injuring four other people, Alexander Pama, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council, told reporters in Manila.
Officials said more people are expected to flee as the now weakened storm makes its way to the northern tip of Luzon, the country's largest island and home to about half its national population of 100 million people.
Aurelio Umali, governor of Nueva Ecija province that includes Pantabangan told ABS-CBN said rescuers saw two human bodies floating in one of the flooded villages.
However Mr Lontoc said the two bodies have not been recovered. He said three people in the coastal resort town of Baler, near Casiguran, are missing after a large wave struck their house, and three fishermen are also missing in Manila Bay.