Typhoon Vamco Hits the Philippines and Vietnam

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Almost two weeks after Typhoon Goni, the Philippines was hit with another devastating typhoon, Typhoon Vamco, that left dozens dead and many without power. Typhoon Vamco hit the Philippines Wednesday night and into Thursday, causing many to have no power and leaving at least 67 dead. Typhoon Vamco destroyed many homes, leaving people stuck on rooftops, as well as leaving many elderly people and children stranded. Prior to Typhoon Vamco, the Philippines evacuated 350,000 people in coastal and low lying areas. 

#RescuePH trended on social media as many posted where they were stranded and their contact details, begging to be rescued. On Friday, authorities said they were able to rescue more than 138,000 people. 

This typhoon is equal to a type two category hurricane, as it brought rain and winds of up to 105 mph, which caused many power lines and trees to fall. 

Many were wondering where the President was in the midst of this. President Rodrigo Duterte responded to these concerns in a short video. In the video, he said that the government is on top of the situation and he wishes he could be out there helping, but his security is not allowing him to leave. 

“It’s not that I am at a distance from you, I want to go there and swim with you, but I am being stopped. Because if I die, there’s only one president,” he said.

Mahar Lagmay, executive director of the University of the Philippines’ Resilience Institute says that an efficient warning system is needed, especially since the climate crisis is worsening and more areas are starting to flood. Many government critics, as well as analysts, say that taking networks like ABS-CBN off of free television left a communication gap in a disaster-prone country. 

After back-to-back natural disasters, many evacuation centers have become overcrowded. This has also likely led to an increase in COVID-19 cases. This week the Philippines surpassed 402,000 cases. 

In Vietnam, the typhoon hit the coast on Sunday, with winds of up to 150 mph. As the storm moves inland it will weaken, but it is still completely possible that there will be flooding and landslides. Typhoon Vamco is the 13th storm to have hit South Asian countries this year.