Typhoon Koppu set to give Philippines a battering

تم النشر: 17 أكتوبر 2015 19:18 CET

The Philippine Government has declared a red alert as Typhoon Koppu (local name Lando) is predicted to intensify into a category 4 cyclone on its approach to the Philippines, with landfall expected overnight on the east coast of Luzon in the popular tourist province of Aurora.

The very slow-moving system could linger for up to three days and is expected to bring torrential rain, landslides and mudslides within a 650 diameter as it moves across the east coast and curves north along Luzon’s steep central mountain range before leaving to the island’s north west. The national weather forecaster Pagasa says in most areas Koppu will reach wind speeds of 175 kph with gusts of up to 210kph. The system is being slowed down by its neighbour to the east, Typhoon Champi.

Public storm warnings have been raised across 36 provinces, with the highest storm warning for Aurora, which is expecting winds of up to 220kph, and signal 3 for six provinces to the west and north.

Luzon, the largest and most densely populated island in the Philippines, has a population of more than 44 million. The area to the north of Manila features steep hillsides and flood-prone rivers that are close to cities with a total population of 7.5 million. Officials are also worried about the impact of Koppu on Metro Manila, which is prone to flash floods in heavy rain. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has called on its regional, provincial and local counterparts to conduct pre-disaster risk assessments and activate their emergency operations centres.

At this stage the Government has pre-emptively moved 80 families to evacuation centres in flood and landslide-prone areas, made 196,737 family food packs available and allocated standby funds of 18 million pesos ($US390,000). The Department of Health has raised its alert status and pre-positioned medical supplies, as well as having health personnel ready for deployment in typhoon-affected areas.

The Philippine Red Cross is monitoring the typhoon from its Manila operations centre and has emergency response teams, chapter staff and community (143) volunteers on standby, including trained First Aiders. Water search and rescue teams are also on standby. Stocks have been pre-positioned, with rescue boats and equipment readied to be dispatched to affected areas.

The IFRC is supporting Philippine Red Cross with prepositioned emergency relief stocks for 1,500 families in the three east Luzon provinces most likely to be affected. These include shelter items, jerry cans, sleeping mats and hygiene kits . It has also deployed specialist field delegates to support the emergency response.