The third typhoon to hit the storm-battered Philippines in as many weeks caused major flooding yesterday in Manila, trapping people on rooftops and claiming at least two lives in another part of the country.
Typhoon Vamco packed winds of up to 155kph as it swept across the country’s largest island of Luzon, after making landfall overnight.
Authorities warned of landslides and potentially deadly storm surges along the coast.
Heavy rain effectively shut down Manila, a sprawling capital of 12 million people, and surrounding areas, turning streets into rivers.
“A lot of places are submerged. Many people are crying for help,” said Rouel Santos, 53, a retired disaster officer in Rizal province, next to the capital.
Santos said that the flooding caused by Vamco brought back memories of the devastating Typhoon Ketsana, known in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Ondoy, which hit in 2009 and claimed hundreds of lives.
The Philippine Red Cross, police, military and other rescuers used boats to reach people stranded in their homes in Marikina City, one of the hardest-hit areas of the capital, where the water in some streets was up to shoulder height.
At least two people died and four others were missing in Camarines Norte province, the Office of Civil Defense said in its latest update, adding that eight had been injured.
Requests for help were “pouring in,” Philippine Civil Defense Deputy Administrator for Operations Casiano Monilla said.
Many people had not heeded warnings to evacuate ahead of the typhoon, urging them to do so “while there’s still time,” he said.
“I didn’t expect it to be like this,” said Rosalinda Opsima, who fled her home with her husband after the fast-rising water caught them by surprise.
Schools are being used as emergency shelters, along with gymnasiums.
About 180,000 people were in evacuation centers, the Office of Civil Defense said.
The government “is on top of the situation,” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in a statement, pledging relief funds, goods and shelter for victims, as well as post-disaster counseling.
“The government will not leave anybody behind,” Duterte said. “We will get through this crisis.”
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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