67 Dead, 12 Missing as Typhoon Vamco Lashes Philippines

The toll is likely to rise as rescuers continue to search for the missing, the Philippine National Police said.

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The toll is likely to rise as rescuers continue to search for the missing, the Philippine National Police (PNP) added.
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The death toll from the deadliest cyclone to hit the Philippines this year has climbed to 67, with 12 people still missing, the national disaster management agency said on Sunday, according to Reuters.

The toll is likely to rise as rescuers continue to search for the missing, the Philippine National Police (PNP) added. The focus is now on rescuing the victims in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela, IANS reported. Using rubber boats, rescuers scramble to pluck residents stranded on rooftops of submerged houses.

Philippine Coast Guard footage showed a big swath of the provinces submerged in brown floodwaters triggered by the spilling water from Magat Dam, a large rock-fill dam on the Magat River in the main island of Luzon.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said on Saturday that one rescuer was electrocuted on Friday night. Mamba, who described the flooding as the worst in recent memory, appealed for helicopters, adding that some of the flooded areas cannot be accessed by land. Evacuation centres are full, he said, adding some victims were moving in with neighbours amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19.

Typhoon Vamco lashed a big part of Luzon, home to approximately half of the country’s 110 million population and 70 percent of economic activity.

Non-stop torrential rains and the cyclones before it forced operators of dams in Luzon to open the floodgates to release water, as the reservoir's levels breached the spilling mark.

The damage to agricultural commodities was initially pegged at 1.2 billion pesos ($25 million), while infrastructure damage was estimated at 470 million pesos, disaster agency spokesman Mark Timbal, according to Reuters.

China Issues Alert for Typhoon Vamco

China's national observatory on Sunday renewed a blue alert for typhoon Vamco, which is expected to bring downpours and strong winds to parts of the country's coastal areas.

The centre of Vamco, the 22nd typhoon of the year, was at the central coastal waters of Vietnam at 5 am on Sunday morning, with winds of up to 126 kph near the eye, Xinhua news agency quoted the National Meteorological Center (NMC) as saying in its latest update.

The typhoon is forecast to move northwestward at a speed of up to 20 kph before landing at the central coast of Vietnam. From Sunday to Monday morning, gales are expected to hit parts of the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea, the Qiongzhou Strait, the Beibu Gulf and Hainan Island.

Affected by the typhoon, the southeastern part of Hainan is expected to experience heavy rainfall within 24 hours, according to the NMC.

(With inputs from IANS and Reuters)

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