Two Dead, Six Missing, 16,000 Displaced by Typhoon Koppu
A fter the landfall of Typhoon Koppu in Casiguran in the Philippine province of Aurora earlier today, two people are already confirmed dead; six people are confirmed missing; and approximately 16,000 people have been displaced by the massive storm, which slowed down in speed as had been forecast — meaning that it might not leave the main northern island of Luzon until Wednesday.
The former super typhoon also weakened — it is forecast to be downgraded to a tropical storm by tomorrow — but that is of little comfort to people in the Philippines at the moment, where strong winds knocked down trees and power lines, leaving nine entire provinces without electrical power. Floods and landslides have been occurring in the northern portion of the country as a result of local areas which could receive as much as 36 inches — that is three feet — of torrential rain.
Dozens of flights an sea voyages have been canceled as a result. Some commercial airlines have issued travel advisories to the Philippines, where you can change or cancel your itinerary and possibly receive a full refund where applicable — free of charge. As an example, here is the advisory from Delta Air Lines for travel to or from Manila. If your travel plans include the Philippines over the next few days, consult with the airline operating your flight for the latest update.
Manila and surrounding areas have not escaped Typhoon Koppu unscathed. “A teenager was pinned to death on Sunday by a fallen tree, which also injured four people and damaged three houses in suburban Quezon city in the Manila metropolis”, according to this article written by Jim Gomez of the Associated Press. “In Subic town, northwest of Manila, a concrete wall collapsed and killed a 62-year-old woman and injured her husband.”
Although Typhoon Koppu is the twelfth storm to affect the Philippines this year, it is also the worst storm since Super Typhoon Haiyan, about which I covered in November of 2013 with this travel alert and this updated article where greater than 7,300 people were reported either dead or missing.
The storm is currently expected to curve northeast towards the open water of the Philippine Sea; but then it is forecast to curve back towards the north — directly towards the southern tip of Taiwan by as early as Friday. Although Koppu is expected to be a tropical storm by that point, that does not mean that travel will not be affected, as locally heavy rain may occur. If your travel plans include Taiwan over the next week, you are advised to keep yourself updated pertaining to Koppu.
In the meantime, expect the death toll, the number of injuries, the number of people being displaced and the number of people missing to increase in the Philippines over the next few days.