Rescue workers evacuate residents from their flooded homes after Hurricane Famco struck, in Marikina, a suburb of Manila, on November 12, 2020 (AFP)

MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered government agencies to speed up aid to people affected by Hurricane Ulysses after the storm killed at least two people and caused the worst floods in the capital Manila in years.

Floods inundated tens of thousands of homes in low-lying suburbs, forcing residents to scramble on rooftops to await rescue

Ulysses (international name: Famco), the 21st typhoon that struck the Philippines this year, struck a nation still reeling from Rulli (international name: Goni), the world’s strongest typhoon this year killing 25 people and destroying thousands of homes in early November

“Rest assured, the government will not leave anyone behind,” Duterte said in a patriotic speech, pledging to provide shelter, relief items, financial aid, and post-disaster counseling

The latest typhoon, which also left four unaccounted for, comes as the Philippines continues to grapple with a wave of COVID-19 infections and an overwhelming economy

“There are only a few steps left on the third floor and we haven’t seen any rescuers yet,” Pasij city resident Karla Mahayi Sueku, while sheltering with 15 family members and neighbors, told DZBB

The mayor of the city, Marcelino Teodoro, told DZMM radio station that approximately 40000 homes were either completely or partially flooded, either completely or partially, describing the situation as “overwhelming” and the worst since the hurricane flooded large areas of Manila in 2009

Nearly three million households in and around Manila were without electricity as people were battling waist-high floods and carrying valuables and pets.

A man carries a dog as he evacuates from a flooded community following typhoon Famco, in Marikina, Metro Manila, Philippines, November 12, 2020 Photo: Eloisa Opiz – Reuters

The Coast Guard was forced to swim in flood waters like electric poles, while rescue workers used inflatable boats and makeshift buoys to transport children and the elderly to safety.

Flights and mass transit have been suspended in Manila while the Coast Guard suspended port operations, government action has been suspended, and financial markets closed.

Ulysses has now weakened, with winds of up to 130 kilometers (81 miles) per hour and winds up to 160 kilometers per hour (99 miles per hour) continue to blow after exiting Luzon, home to half of the Philippines’ population 108 million people

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, experiences about 20 tropical storms annually that often continue their course to hit Vietnam, China and Taiwan.

Ulysses is expected to head towards Vietnam. Floods and mudslides over the past month have killed at least 160 people in central Vietnam, dozens missing and 390,000 homes damaged

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News – PH – Hurricane Ulysses is causing the worst flooding in Metro Manila in years