Only a week and a half after enduring a fatal hit from super typhoon Goni, another storm struck the Philippines on Wednesday, November 11, leaving millions without power, at least one person dead, and many deserted.
Typhoon Vamco, a Category 2 hurricane, battered the northern island of Luzon. This was the third hurricane and fifth tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines in less than three weeks.
Super Typhoon Goni almost hit the capital region, with a population of more than 12 million, but Vamco brought rain and winds of up to 105 mph from Wednesday night through Thursday. A signal three warning was lifted by The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, on a scale of 1 to 5, for much of Luzon, including Metro Manila.
These continuous storms have formulated a lot of trouble for the Philippines’ congested evacuation centers (typical tents in gyms and schools) as the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly. The country exceeded 402,000 cases of COVID-19 this week, the second-highest in Southeast Asia.
On Thursday, many houses were immersed in water, and many Filipinos were trapped on the rooftops. Several were stranded with the elderly, children, and pets. Some were rescued on rubber lifeboats.
In the capital region, a river flowing through Marikina City inflated, urging residents to look for higher ground.
According to the Manila Electric Company, almost 2 million houses were with electricity at noon Thursday.
As residents evaluated the damage, the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo, or “Where is the president?” started trending on Twitter. Rodrigo Duterte, the populist leader, said that they were doing everything and the only reason he isn’t going out is that his security detail isn’t letting him. It’s not that I am at a distance from you,” he said. “I want to go there and swim with you, but I am being stopped. Because if I die, there’s only one president.”
The eastern Philippines, facing the pacific oceans, still hadn’t been restored from the battering of the storms in the past three weeks when Vamco struck, causing blackouts again. The area suffered uprooted trees, flooded neighborhoods, and waterlogged crops.
On the island of Catanduanes, where Goni made landfall and the floored communities still haven’t fully recovered, a road that was cleared recently was blocked again by the wreckage. The storm was projected to surge between 7 and 10 feet.
“I’m so exhausted,” a resident, Shirley Tapel, told broadcaster ABS-CBN. “We clean up and prepare . . . then suddenly there’s a new storm. We have to pack up and move again.”
Analysts and government critics say “its closure left a communication gap in the disaster-prone country.”
Casiano Monilla, assistant secretary of the Office of Civil Defense, said in an online news conference Thursday that the government was “not caught flat-footed by the disaster but could not immediately provide figures for preemptive evacuations nor answer questions about shortcomings in preparedness.”
“It’s not time for us to point fingers. Sorry to say that, but we are focusing now on the conduct of the rescue operations,” said Monilla.
Mahar Lagmay, executive director of University of the Philippines’ Resilience Institute, said: “The weather forecast may have been accurate but that an efficient warning system required much more.”
As the climate crisis is worsening and floods submerging more areas. He said: “We have to prepare [for] hazards that are bigger than what we remember and what we experienced,” Lagmay said. “If we do not, when it comes, when they are bigger, people will get surprised.”
As the climate crisis is worsening, floods are submerging more areas. Lagmay said: “We have to prepare [for] hazards that are bigger than what we remember and what we experienced. If we do not, when it comes, when they are bigger, people will get surprised.”
By Thursday afternoon, Vamco had exited the Philippines over the South China Sea. Its passage across Luzon weakened the storm, whose winds dropped to the level of a Category 1 hurricane. Vamco is forecasted to move west and appear onto the shore in Vietnam on Saturday.
Categories: World News