Disasters & Accidents

At least 39 dead, 22 missing as Typhoon Vamco exits Philippines

Manila, Nov 13 (efe-epa).- Typhoon Vamco, which swept through the center of the Philippines island of Luzon early Thursday, has left at least 39 people dead, 22 missing and 40 injured, according to the armed forces Friday.

The government’s preliminary count currently stands at 14 dead and 14 missing, although presidential spokesman, Harry Roque, warned at a press conference that the figures will increase as reports of victims are verified.

Across the country, Vamco forced the evacuation of at least 300,000 people, according to the police, the majority in coastal communities or near rivers and dams, due to the risk of overflowing waters.

Vamco was expected to exit the Philippines Area of Responsibility on Friday morning, leaving heavy rains and severe flooding in central Luzon, particularly in Manila.

Emergency services compared the situation in the capital with Typhoon Ketsana in 2009, the most devastating to hit Manila and which left 464 people dead across the country, although Vamco hit with stronger winds and rains.

In the east of the city, thousands of families were evacuated as the water submerged some 40,000 homes when the Marikina River reached 22 meters, surpassing the 21.5-meter mark that Ketsana reached in 2009.

“The situation is overwhelming,” said the mayor of Marikina, Marcelino Teodoro, adding that they did not expect the river to exceed 18 meters.

Vamco, which made landfall on Wednesday night on the east coast of Luzon, in Quezon province, then swept through the cener of ??the island with sustained winds of 155 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 255 kph and heavy rains, according to national meteorological agency Pagasa.

It is the fifth cyclone to hit the country in less than a month, after 50 victims and millions worth of damages were caused by the last storms.

The regions of Bicol and Calabarzon, south of Luzon, were also hit by Vamco while still recovering from the impact of Typhoon Goni – which left more than 30 dead and missing – and Typhoon Molave ??(26 victims), with accumulated losses in agriculture and infrastructure of about $220 million.

In recent weeks the Philippines has also suffered from severe tropical storm Atsani and tropical storm Etau.

After having received 21 cyclones so far this year, Pagasa announced Friday that the Philippines could still suffer another four before the end of 2020, a year especially vulnerable to storms due to the impact of the phenomenon known as La Niña. EFE-EPA


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