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Residents return to recover muddied belongings from their homes at a community affected by flood in Marikina City, Metro Manila, Philippines 13 November 2020. According to reports the death toll rose to at least 26 as Typhoon Vamco caused floods in Metro Manila, neighboring provinces and parts of the Bicol region after making landfall in the southern Luzon region. EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA

by  Theresa Redula and Nandika Ravi

Thousands of people were displaced and at least six people have died and with 10 others missing after Typhoon Vamco made landfall in the Philippines earlier this week. Vamco, also referred to as Ulysses in the Philippines, is the 21st tropical cyclone for 2020. It took shape in Luzon on November 11th.

Vamco is equivalent in force to a Category 2 hurricane, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The storm has caused flooding and two to three meters of storm surge. PAGASA also warned that the rains would cause landslides. The typhoon brought in strong winds up to 155 kilometers per hour, and nearly 3,000,000 houses in and around Manila lost electricity after the storm.

Rescuers carry children out from a flooded street due to heavy rains brought by Typhoon Vamco in Providence village in Marikina City, east of Manila, Philippines, Thursday. Nov.r 12, 2020. The typhoon swelled rivers and flooded low-lying areas as it passed over the storm-battered northeast Philippines, where rescuers were deployed early Thursday to help people flee the rising waters. (AP Photo/Basilio Sepe)

 

In northern Luzon, many roads have been blocked off after being overwhelmed by landslides and mud from the storm.  An estimate of 200,000 residents were evacuated before the storm hit on  Wednesday, and the military has proactively started rescuing people in places where evacuation still remains risky.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte conducted an aerial inspection in high impact areas of Manila, where several stranded citizens waited for help. In a televised address, he assured his people that the well being and safety of the his citizens remain the top priority of the government and “no one will be left behind.”

 

Vice President Leni Robredo took to Twitter to reassure people about the on going rescue missions and that “they’ve deployed security team to coordinate with all the calls for rescue.”

The Philippines are hit by at least 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year and also have active seismic faults and volcanoes, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

Canada sends relief packages to Philippines

GlobalMedic, a registered Canadian charity is shipping disaster relief and several emergency packages to the areas hit by Typhoon Vamco.

Alana Merchese ,the emergency programs officer at Global Medic, is also Filipino. She said she feels grateful to be able to help her people.
“We’re living here in Canada,” she said.
“We’re here on the other side of the world. But just knowing that those are my people, those are my community, my family, friends being affected, it gives me a heavy heart. I want them to feel that others are thinking about them. They’re not alone, and we know they’re having a really hard time and we’re doing our best to help them out and send them the aid that they need.”

Rahul Singh, the executive director at GlobalMedic, believes in giving the right aid at the right time. 

“So we always look for a problem, we see if the local authorities are overwhelmed, are they asking for assistance, what assistance do they specifically need?” he said.

Partners of  GolbalMedic in the Philippines will be distributing the emergency kits to 500 affected families, and will also help them assemble household water purification units for clean drinking water.