The islands of the northern Philippines are facing the wrath of Typhoon Koppu, which has forced more than 15,000 people to flee their homes and left at least one dead, with countless more missing.
The typhoon reached the island of Luzon on Sunday morning, beating the island with winds of up to 210km/h and heavy rain. It was reported that 8,000 people moved to specially set-up evacuation centres in Casiguran, the city where the typhoon first touched the archipelago.
The Philippine president, Benigno Aquino, made a televised speech warning the population of the dangers of the impending typhoon earlier in the week, a mark of the severity of the storm.
So far, Koppu has already brought down trees and power lines, as well as causing flooding and landslides. Flights and ferry services in the north of the region have been suspended whilst the storm reigns over the area.
A toppled tree claimed the life of a teenage boy in the capital Manila, injuring several others too.
Whilst Koppu has weakened slightly since hitting the Philippines, experts have predicted that there may be up to a total of 1 metre of rainfall, with this colossal amount very likely to cause further flooding. The typhoon is moving very slowly over the area due to the surrounding weather conditions: as there are currently two typhoons over the west Pacific, with Typhoon Champi currently east of Koppu, a ridge of high pressure has been created, effectively trapping Koppu in its place.
It is predicted that Koppu will remain almost stationary for up to three days, before moving towards Taiwan. Alexander Pama, head of the Philippine government’s main disaster agency said that this is just the start, warning “People must remain alert while we try to pick up the pieces in areas already hit”.
UNICEF’s Lotta Sylwander advised that people needed to be able to survive unaided for 72 hours, as this would be the time that the typhoon would last, and it would therefore be difficult to get aid and supplies into badly-affected areas until it had passed.
Koppu is the first major typhoon to cause such damage to the region since Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Phillipines in November 2013, leaving more than 7,000 people dead or missing.