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Typhoon Koppu leaves 22 dead in the Philippines

Typhoon Koppu has swept back out to the South China Sea, leaving catastrophic damage in its wake. Heavy rains and flooding pounded the Philippines' largest island, Luzon.

As Koppu, weakened into a tropical storm, finally moved back out to sea on Tuesday, heavy flooding across the northern Philippines showed no sign of stopping. Around 200 farming villages across the region were submerged, some under more than 1.5 meters (5 feet) of water.

While the floodwaters near the mountains on the main island of Luzon had subsided, flooding began to sweep southward, within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the capital, Manila.

More than 70,000 people were forced from their homes by Koppu, the second-strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year. Twenty-two people were killed in the floods, landslides, boat accidents and flying debris caused by the typhoon.

The Philippines is usually battered by 20 major storms a year, most of them deadly. Scientists warn this number will only increase as climate change worsens.

The worst-ever storm to hit the archipelago was super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which left around 7,350 people dead or missing. While Koppu was not as deadly, it could prove fatal for many thousands of already financially struggling farmers.

es/cmk (AP, AFP)

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