The death toll from the deadliest cyclone to hit the Philippines this year has climbed to 67, while many areas remained under water in the northern part of the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Tuguegarao province on Sunday, November 15, to assess the situation in Cagayan Valley region that was hit by the worst flooding in more than four decades.
The northern Philippine region was heavily flooded after typhoon “Ulysses (Vamco)” dumped rain over swathes of the main island of Luzon, including the capital Manila.
At least 22 fatalities were recorded in the province of Cagayan, 17 in southern Luzon, eight in Metro Manila, and 20 in two other regions, said Mark Timbal, disaster management spokesman.
At least 12 people were still reported missing on Sunday, and nearly 26,000 houses, were damaged.
Archbishop Ricardo Baccay of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao has appealed for urgent help for those affected by the massive flooding.
“While some show increased resilience and determination in the face of difficulty, we encourage those who are capable of extending help to reach out to our needy brothers and sisters,” said the prelate.
In his statement, the archbishop offered his sympathies and prayers to the victims of the disaster. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you especially during these difficult times,” he said.
Archbishop Baccay said the archdiocese has mobilized all its resources to reach those most affected “the soonest.”
“But we cannot do this without everyone’s help. All stakeholders need to be on board,” he said.
Governor Manuel Mamba of Cagayan said it was “the worst flooding that we had in the last 45 years.”
“We see that it is worsening every year,” he said during a media briefing with Duterte.
The accumulated effects of weather disturbances and huge volumes of water from a dam affected thousands of families, some of whom had fled to rooftops to escape two-storey high floods.
Six cyclones hit the Philippines in a span of just four weeks, including Vamco and super typhoon “Rolly (Goni),” the world’s most powerful this year.
Mamba also lamented about denuded forests in Cagayan, prompting Duterte to order him to curb logging operations in the province.
“We always talk about illegal logging and mining but nothing has been done about it,” said the president.
Relief and rescue operations continued in Cagayan province even as the nearby Magat Dam was still releasing water, two days after releasing a volume equivalent to two Olympic-size pools per second, based on government data. – with a report from Reuters
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