Typhoon Koppu continues to wreak havoc in the Philippines for a second day, with at least three people dead and thousands left stranded.
Authorities said the slow-moving typhoon, which hit the northern island of Luzon yesterday, forced more than 60,000 people from their homes. The death toll is expected to rise.
Military and volunteer rescue unit are attempting to rescue people stranded on rooftops, but are struggling to access some areas as floodwaters continue to rise.
Regional rescue official Nigel Lontoc was unable to determine the number of people stranded in remote regions as the floods begin to spread.
“The water is now too deep even for big military trucks, so our people are trying to reach them using rubber boats,” he said.
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The typhoon has begun to weaken, with winds dropping from close to 200km/h down to 150km/h as it reached the northern town of Santiago.
Authorities have warned that the continuous rain will bring greater risk of flooding and landslides, with roads and communications cut off in affected areas.
Alexander Pama, the head of the state’s disaster agency, has urged people to remain on alert as the storm is expected to linger until Wednesday.
“I must emphasise that this is just the start,” he said.
Justin Morgan, Philippines country director for the charity Oxfam, said that while assisting those in need was the most urgent task, the damage would affect the area for quite some time.
“We can expect that there will be needs in terms of helping people recover their livelihoods,” he said.
The Philippines is frequently hit by major storms, dealing with up to 20 a year.
The capital, Manila, has not been severely affected, but school services and domestic flights have been cancelled because of heavy rain. – Josh Chahal
Top photo of Typhoon Koppu hitting the Philippines from BBC Asia’s coverage.