• Friday, Nov 16, 2018
  • Last Update : 01:02 am

Philippines on alert as Typhoon Koppu nears

  • Published at 07:40 am October 17th, 2015

The Philippines is preparing for a typhoon that is forecast to dump heavy rain and cause severe flooding when it arrives at the weekend.

On Friday President Benigno Aquino warned people living in the path of Typhoon Koppu to be ready to evacuate.

In a TV address, he said the storm could bring up to 12 hours' torrential rain and cause severe flooding.

It was Mr Aquino's first such appeal since Typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013, leaving more than 6,000 people dead.

Koppu is due to hit the northern island of Luzon early on Sunday.

Forecasters say it is packing winds of up to 180km/h (115mph) and is slow moving, meaning it could bring intense rain over a long period of time.

The first heavy rain was expected in parts of northern and central Luzon on Saturday.

In his address, Mr Aquino urged the estimated six million people in the typhoon's direct path to listen to government warnings and be ready to evacuate their homes if necessary.

He said aid agencies had already distributed emergency supplies to evacuation centres.

"Your government is here to help us achieve zero casualties," Mr Aquino said.

"But I must emphasise, each local government unit, community and Filipino that will be affected has the duty to co-operate in the collective action we are taking to overcome the challenges ahead."

Mr Aquino added: "We have assets at the ready... to respond to any eventuality. However, we are dealing with nature so we don't really know what will happen."

The state weather service warned residents on the east coast of Luzon to be ready for possible storm surges of more than 2m (6ft).

Meanwhile, the Philippine military in northern Luzon has been placed on alert for disaster operations.

Typhoon Koppu, also known as Lando, is not due to leave the Philippines until Tuesday, when it will be heading towards Taiwan.

In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan - the strongest storm ever recorded on land - swept into the Philippines, destroying entire towns and leaving more than 6,300 people dead and more than 1,000 missing.