MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The death toll from the tropical storm that battered the Philippines’ main island over the weekend climbed to at least 39, officials said Wednesday.
Tropical Storm Koppu barreled ashore as a powerful typhoon Sunday, forcing more than 100,000 villagers into emergency shelters and destroying rice fields ready for harvest. The deaths were mostly due to drowning, landslides, fallen trees and collapsed walls, said civilian defense officials.
The slow-moving storm was over the Balintang Channel in the country’s northern tip with winds of 55 kilometers (34 miles) per hour near its center, according to the government’s weather bureau.
The heavy rains dumped by the storm in the mountainous north flowed down rivers and flooded villages in downstream provinces.
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An initial government estimate showed damage to agriculture and infrastructure amounted to at least 5.3 billion pesos ($115 million).
Koppu was the 12th storm this year to hit the Philippines, one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan leveled entire towns, leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing.