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Koppu hits Philippines north, destroys houses, displaces 10,000 people

Image: Workers fold a tarpaulin along a highway in preparation for Typhoon Koppu in Paranaque city, metro Manila, October 17, 2015. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco


MANILA (Reuters) – 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 meters (12 feet) high, disaster agency officials said.

There were no reports of casualties after the category four typhoon, with central destructive winds of 175 kph (109 mph), made landfall around 1 a.m. (1700 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, we are getting many houses were destroyed, power lines toppled and trees 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 a high pressure in the north and another typhoon in the northwest Pacific.

Casiguran town, where Koppu slammed 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 bus suspended services due threats of landslides in mountain areas.

On Friday, President Benigno Aquino appealed on television to people not to panic and to make 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.

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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