10/22/2015, 00.00
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Philippines, typhoon Koppu: 54 dead and 500,000 displaced, coastal villages submerged

Heavy rains are flowing from mountainous areas towards the sea. Thousands of homes demolished by floods. The inhabitants of the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga flee en masse after nights of raising water. Difficulties will take weeks to resolve.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The death toll from the powerful typhoon Koppu, which struck the mountainous regions in northern Philippines has risen to at least 54 people dead and up to 500 thousand displaced.

The floods have washed away thousands of homes, dragging them towards the valley. From mountainous areas, torrential rains caused by typhoon are pouring into coastal villages inhabited mainly by fishermen and farmers, submerging them in water up to three meters high.

Last weekend the typhoon Koppu struck the east coast of Luzon in reaching a speed of 210 km / h, and then settle at around 150 km / h. The inhabitants of the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga, about two hours drive from Manila, fled on foot in droves to seek refuge in evacuation centers due to the sudden rise of the water overnight.

At least 60 thousand people have fled their homes in the two provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga, a catchment area for rainwater from the mountainous provinces of Nueva Ecija and Aurora, the most beaten by the typhoon. The dislocation caused by the floods could last up to a week.

In other areas the waters have begun to recede and residents are returning to their homes.

Meanwhile Typhoon Koppu weakened turning into a depression leading to moderate rains over Batanes islands, in the north of the Philippines.

In the Philippines, typhoons and tropical storms are a common occurrence, with an average of 20 per year and some of them fatal. However, Koppu proved anomalous because of its slow moving pace caused by the because of the obstacle formed by the typhoon Champi further east. This caused heavy, violent and prolonged rains, that have exacerbated the effects of floods.

Koppu is the second major typhoon to hit the Philippine archipelago, the 12th in total. In November 2013, the typhoon Yolanda hit the central provinces of the country, causing more than 7,300 dead or missing and serious damage to homes and agriculture.


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