October 19, 2015

ADRA Responds as Typhoon Koppu Batters Philippines

, news editor, Adventist Review, and , SSD

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency has deployed an emergency response team as Typhoon Koppu drenches the northern Philippines, killing at least two people and leaving scores of people homeless.Cars taking turns crossing a flooded part of the main highway in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija. (ADRA)

Typhoon Koppu made landfall on the main island of Luzon as a category 5 storm with winds approaching 125 miles per hour (200 kilometers per hour) early Sunday, leaving many areas without power.

The slow-moving weather system later was downgraded to a severe tropical storm, but heavy rainfall continued to batter the northern part of the island on Monday. The rain was forecast to fall for another two or three days.

Two deaths — from a falling tree and a collapsed concrete wall — were reported in Manila and the northern town of Subic.

ADRA’s local branch sent an emergency response team to the Aurora region in northeastern Luzon to assess the initial needs of residents and found parts of the area inaccessible.

“The towns of Casiguran, Dinalungan, and Dilasag currently remain isolated, according to the provincial government here in Aurora,” ADRA Philippines said Monday on its Facebook page.

ADRA, citing the authorities, said 676 families have been forced to flee their homes in Dilasag, while another 599 families were homeless in Casiguran and 110 families were homeless in Dinalungan.

“No official info yet on damaged houses in these areas,” it said.

Early reports from the national disaster response agency indicate that at least 25 roads and 10 bridges are impassable because of flooding or landslides, creating challenges for disaster relief teams like ADRA to reach those affected by the storm. But ADRA said its team faced little troubling reaching Baler, the regional capital of Aurora.

“Some parts of the Pantabangan-Aurora road are slightly damaged but in general passable,” ADRA said. “Manila-bound buses are back on the road.”

The weather was fair in Baler on Monday, with stores and other businesses reopening despite a lack of electricity, it said.