Death Toll Increases To 53 As Typhoon Vamco Battered Philippines

Manila: The death toll from typhoon Vamco that battered the Philippines earlier this week has increased to 53, the police said on Saturday.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said that 22 people were still missing in the flash floods and landslides triggered by the typhoon which slammed the main island of Luzon from Wednesday to Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The toll is likely to rise as rescuers continue to search for the missing, the PNP added.

The focus now is on rescuing the victims in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela.

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 Covid-19 concerns.

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

Non-stop torrential rains have been dumped by Vamco 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 marks.

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