Typhoon Vamco death toll rises to 67 in Philippines - GulfToday

Typhoon Vamco death toll rises to 67 in Philippines


This photo shows a general view of flooded areas in northern Philippines. Philippine Coast Guard/AP

Gulf Today Report

The death toll from the deadliest cyclone to hit the Philippines this year has climbed to 67, with 12 people still missing, the national disaster management agency said on Sunday.

Dozens of towns in Cagayan region remain submerged as floodwaters receded and residents began to return home, the scale of the destruction left by Vamco became clearer.

The third powerful storm Typhoon Vamco that hit the country and torrential rain dumped by inundated low-lying areas of Manila and surrounding provinces, trapping people on rooftops and balconies.

Philippines--Typhoon-Vamco-1Rescuers pull a rubber boat carrying residents through a flooded street in Marikina City, Manila. AFP

In Marikina City, one of the hardest-hit areas of the capital, mud-covered washing machines, televisions, couches, office chairs and bicycles were piled up on streets as residents swept debris and murky water from their houses.

"I don't know where to start," Lina Senga, 80, said as she sat inside her damaged house.

Dozens of towns in Cagayan region north of the capital Manila remain submerged, affecting thousands of families, some of whom fled to rooftops to escape two-storey high floods, officials said.

The coast guard sent teams of rescue personnel, vehicles and rubber boats to Tuguegarao early on Saturday, and will bring in more help from nearby provinces, said coast guard commandant George Ursabia.


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Accumulated effects of previous weather disturbances, as well as water from a dam and higher plains brought high flooding to Cagayan province, the disaster agency said. The nearby Magat Dam released water on Friday equivalent to two Olympic-size pools per second, government data showed.

Cagayan Valley is a region of 1.2 million people comprising five agricultural provinces. Nearly 14,000 people are staying in evacuation centres after the floods affected 343,000, the disaster agency said.

“We believe it would take more than a week before the floods subside” if there is no further rain, Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano told DZMM radio station. Access to the city, home to 163,000 people, was cut due to flooded roads, he said.

Residents took to social media, posting photos and addresses with pleas for rescue. The hashtag #CagayanNeedsHelp was the top trending topic on Twitter with 2.03 million tweets.

“We're already on the third day atop our roof. We need relief goods and clothing because we saved nothing,” Ramilo Lagundi, a resident in Tuguegarao City, told DZBB radio station. Lagundi said he was staying with hundreds of other neighbours on rooftops.

Vamco, the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, has killed at least 42 people. It tore through the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday.

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