UPDATE: 6:50 a.m. EDT – At least 16 people have been killed in the Philippines after Typhoon Koppu battered dozens of villages in the country’s north with heavy rain and floods, authorities said Monday, according to Agence France-Presse.
UPDATE: 5 a.m. EDT -- At least two Philippine towns declared a state of calamity Monday after Typhoon Koppu hit them with winds, rains and floods, Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. The towns are in Nueva Ecija province, about 100 miles north of Manila. One mayor said 95 percent of his town was under water.
Declaring a state of calamity facilitates the release of emergency funds and imposes price controls. As of 4 p.m. local time (4 a.m. EDT), Koppu's winds weakened further to 105 kilometers per hour, according to the national weather agency, and the typhoon was 45 kilometers west-southwest of Laoag in Ilocos Norte province.
Four people are dead as Typhoon Koppu makes its way across northern Philippines, the Philippine Star reported. Two died by drowning, one by electrocution and another after a tree fell on him. Casualties may rise as reports come in from remote areas or areas where power or communications have been cut off. As many as 23,000 people had to evacuate, according to the Star.
The typhoon continued to weaken, however, with winds of 120 kilometers per hour near its center, which was over Santiago, Ilocos Sur province, at 4 a.m. local time Monday, the national weather center said. Winds were 185 kilometers per hour just before hitting the main island of Luzon early Sunday morning. The typhoon, known locally as Lando, is moving at 5 kilometers per hour, a slow pace that would keep it over the Philippines until Tuesday or Wednesday, which authorities feared would mean more destruction.
Authorities have warned of landslides, especially in inland mountainous provinces, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. There's been flooding in lower-lying provinces like Nueva Ecija, provincewide power blackouts, flight cancelations and school suspensions.
Koppu is the 12th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. Authorities had feared it would soon be followed by Typhoon Champi, but that appears to be turning north before nearing the Philippines, according to the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The Philippines gets about 20 typhoons a year, making it one of the most natural-disaster-prone countries in the world. Two of the most destructive were Ketsana in 2009 and Haiyan in 2013.