Manila (AsiaNews) - Two dead and about 20 thousand people evacuated or trapped on the roofs of their houses; crops destroyed and roads turned into rivers. This is the initial assessment of the damage caused by Typhoon Koppu, which is passing through northern Philippines.
One of the worst affected areas is to Cabanatuan, north of Manila, where 70 villages are flooded with water. Fr. Giovanni Re, PIME regional superior in the Philippines, told AsiaNews: "More hardships are caused by the fact that the typhoon is moving very slowly, and this greatly hinders the rescue teams. It will take time before they move from residential areas. The gusts of wind and rain are very strong. To understand the extent of damage we will have to wait for it to pass".
The typhoon hit the East Coast in Luzon reaching a speed of 210 km / h. It has settled down to150 km / h. "The water at the moment is too deep for the passage of large military convoys - confirms Nigel Lontoc, a rescue team volunteer - so we are trying to reach people using rafts. The flood was very fast and people are finding refuge on the roofs. " At the moment, there are operating 10 rescue teams in the area north of Manila.
In Cabanatuan, a city unaccustomed to typhoons, "some residents were evacuated as a precaution - says Lontoc - but others thought that the water would never reach them and have been trapped”. There are at least 19 thousand displaced persons held in makeshift centers provided by the government, a significant number in a gym in San Jose. In Jaen, a community of rice farmers of 67 thousand people near Canabatuan, the water reached the level of the roofs.
In Manila, says Fr. King, "the situation is quite good, with alarm level one or two. They closed schools to avoid traffic and not endanger children. There are gusts of wind mixed with intense rain, but nothing serious. Going north, the situation is much more worrying. "
A 14 year old boy died in Manila after a tree uprooted by the wind struck his house. A woman of 62 years died in the province of Zambales when her house collapsed due to too heavy rain.