Philippines | Romhelyn Gay Deles, Teresa Costello

As Typhoon Koppu continues to drench the northern Philippines, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency of the Philippines (ADRA-Philippines) has deployed its emergency response team to the Aurora region for initial assessment and response.

According to the national weather service, Typhoon Koppu made landfall early Sunday morning with category 5 or super typhoon strength winds estimated at 185 kph while the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the U.S. military’s weather service, recorded winds as strong as 240 kph. At least two people have died but the exact number of deaths and injuries is yet unknown.

While the strong winds and rain have damaged hundreds of homes and displaced over 16,000 people, the greater problem is the slowing of the typhoon’s progression over the island. This will dump greater amounts of rain over the area for a longer time and is already causing flooding with mudslides and landslides expected.

Early reports from the national disaster response agency estimated that at least 25 roads and 10 bridges are impassable due to flooding or landslides thus creating challenges for disaster relief teams like ADRA Philippines to reach those affected.

On average, the Philippines experiences “20 typhoons every year, five of which are destructive,” according to the Asian Disaster Reduction Center.

For over 30 years ADRA-Philippines has responded to the immediate needs and long-term rebuilding challenges of disaster survivors while also offering development projects for communities in need.