Typhoon Vamco in the Philippines: seven dead, thousands of homes submerged

"There are only a few steps left on the third floor and we haven't seen any rescuers yet," Carla Mhaye Suico told DZBB radio

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Water’s everywhere. Many areas of Manila were swamped by Typhoon Vamco, known locally as “Ulysses”, the third to hit the Philippines in as many weeks, and the 21st tropical storm since the beginning of the year. Seven people lost their lives in other areas, and several more are missing.

The typhoon made landfall Wednesday evening in eastern Luzon Island, the largest of the Philippine archipelago where half of the Filipino population lives and where the capital Manila is located. The winds which enveloped it were blowing at 155 km/h. These lands are the rice producing provinces.

Authorities, who had ordered the evacuation of thousands of residents from east coast communities, are now warning of the risk of landslides and submersive waves.

Residents on the roofs waiting for help

In the densely populated capital, some neighborhoods are paralyzed. Tens of thousands of homes in the lower suburbs were submerged in the flooding, causing residents to scramble to their rooftops while waiting for help.

In Marikina City, Red Cross members used boats to rescue people trapped in their homes. “What we are going through is overwhelming,” Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro told CNN Philippines. He estimates the number of totally or partially submerged homes at 40,000. “So many people are stuck on their roofs or on the second floor right now.

“There are only a few steps left on the third floor and we haven’t seen any rescuers yet,” Pasig City resident Carla Mhaye Suico told DZBB radio, a refugee with family members and neighbors, about fifteen people weighing on the structure.

Almost three million homes in and around Manila are without electricity. You have to wade, sometimes with water up to your waist, to transport pets and hope to save some valuables.

“The government will not leave anyone behind”

Schools are closed, public transport stopped. Port activity is also halted after an oil tanker damaged a bridge, pushed by the huge waves that shook Manila Bay.

A Civil Protection official said the precipitation caused by Vamco was “close to the volume” of Ondoy, the name given locally to Typhoon Ketsana, which killed hundreds in 2009.

“Rest assured the government will not leave anyone behind,” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in a national speech, pledging shelter, relief goods and financial aid as the country’s economy falters with the epidemic waves of covid-19.

Vamco left the archipelago on Thursday from the west, continuing its course through the South China Sea. It has weakened a little, with winds to 130 km / h and gusts to 160. The Vietnamese meteorological agency awaits its arrival in its central region on Sunday. It was here that floods and mudslides last month killed at least 160 people, left dozens missing and damaged 390,000 homes.

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