Typhoon Vamco lashes the Philippines, paralyses parts of Manila

MANILA (Reuters) – Torrential rains from Typhoon Vamco lashed provinces in the Philippines’ main Luzon island on Thursday, killing at least one person and paralysing parts of the capital Manila as some residents awaited rescue by boat due to rising flood waters.

A man walks his bike past a fallen tree following Typhoon Vamco, at a road in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, November 12, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Vamco, the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, battered a nation still reeling from Goni, the world’s most powerful typhoon this year that killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes early in November.

The latest typhoon, which has left three missing in a coastal province, comes as the Southeast Asian country is still grappling with a wave of COVID-19 infections and a battered economy.

In some suburbs east of Manila residents took refuge on top of their flooded homes.

“Just a few steps remaining on our third floor and we have yet to see any rescuer,” Carla Mhaye Suico, a resident in Pasig City, told DZBB radio, while sheltering on her roof with 15 family members and neighbours.

Arlyn Rodriguez, a resident in Marikina City, told DZMM radio station she was awaiting rescue with 20 others, mostly children and elderly after the floods rose quickly.

Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said 40,000 homes had been either fully or partially submerged in the area.

In parts of Manila, people waded through waist-high floods, carrying valuables and pets, while rescue workers ferried residents around in boats.

Flights and mass transit in Manila were suspended while the coast guard stopped port operations. Government work was suspended and financial markets were shut.

Vamco has now weakened, with sustained winds of 130 kilometres (81 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 215 kph (133.59 mph) as it moves across Luzon, home to half of the Philippines’ 108 million people.

Vamco is forecast to head towards Vietnam. Floods and mudslides over the past month have killed at least 160 people in central Vietnam, left dozens missing and damaged 390,000 houses.

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