Philippines struggles in typhoon aftermath

The Philippines deployed helicopters, inflatable boats and amphibious vehicles Sunday in a desperate bid to evacuate tens of thousands in the aftermath of successive monster storms.

But rescuers and officials said it was close to impossible to pluck everyone to safety, with many refusing appeals to abandon their inundated homes despite warnings that flood waters may continue to rise.

"We cannot evacuate them all. There are so many of them. That is impossible," said James de Jesus, mayor of Calumpit town where many residents were caught off-guard by the rising water.

"We are calling for help from the armed forces to drop food and water to the thousands still on the roofs or second floor of their homes."

Typhoon Nalgae blew out of the Philippines Saturday after a six-hour rampage across the country's main island Luzon, bringing fresh troubles for more than a million people still affected by Typhoon Nesat, which struck five days earlier.

The two storms were among the most powerful to have struck the country this year, with their massive rain bands covering most of Luzon.

Nalgae soaked the Cordillera mountain range, and water cascading from the slopes was expected to further swell tributaries and rivers in the flood-prone central Luzon plains, including Calumpit, before draining into Manila Bay.

Office of Civil Defense administrator Benito Ramos said many residents refused calls to be rescued from their homes despite repeated warnings they were putting themselves in harm's way.

"Water from the Cordilleras could reach the plains today and there is a possibility that there won't be any more rooftops left to see if that catches up with water from Nesat that's just now subsiding," he said.

Frustrated emergency teams had fanned out across the area but could not force people off their roofs, he said.

Waters however had continued to recede slowly by Sunday afternoon, though troops, police and volunteers were under orders to continue to work round the clock to reach isolated areas.

Many Calumpit residents waded through waist-deep waters in search of food and drinking water but found that even the town hall was inundated.

They clung to ropes tied on lamp posts so as not to be swept away by the strong current, while others carried improvised flotation devices such as empty water bottles.

Those with access to small canoes ferried supplies to stranded relatives, or moved out pets and livestock.

Volunteers on rubber boats went from one flooded home to another to hand over relief items, including dry clothes and instant noodles.

A white coffin was also seen rigged on a canoe, but the grieving relatives had nowhere to take the dead with the cemetery also waterlogged.

"This is the first time in my entire life that I have seen our town submerged in such a flood," retired government employee Josefina Barleta, 69, told AFP.

"The water began rising last week, and we were not able to save anything except the clothes on our backs and a cooking stove."

But Barleta said she, her four adult children and several grandchildren preferred to stay dry on their roof than be taken to a crowded evacuation centre that is also running in dirty water.

Ropalyn Sebastian, 26, a toll booth clerk, sloshed through the flood Sunday in a bid to reach her family in the next town.

"I have been trapped here for the last four days," said Sebastian, who was visiting a friend in Calumpit when Nesat struck last week.

She said her family told her they were stranded on the second floor of their home before electricity and phone lines went dead.

"Help is slow to arrive, and even the municipal hall is flooded," she said.

Social work secretary Corazon Soliman said tonnes of relief packs were being trucked to the affected areas with the help of the UN's food agency, but said other areas remained cut off.

"The main challenge is reaching far-flung villages. We are working with the armed forces and police to reach whatever is possible by food or by choppers," she said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in Manila recorded only one death from Nalgae, but said Nesat left at least 52 people dead after it unleashed strong winds and devastating floods.

More than 2.4 million people were affected by Nesat in total, and nearly half a million of them are still staying in evacuation centres.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community
    Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community

    A “Dadbod” is a newly coined term now trending in media. It was introduced to the world by Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson as she refers to any man—father or bachelor—with a physique that’s a “nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” “It’s more human, natural, and attractive,” she adds. For this writer, […] The post Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • Aquino: Philippines to fly usual routes over disputed reefs

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine aircraft will continue to fly their usual routes over disputed reefs in the South China Sea, the country's president said Monday, defying China's challenges to its planes and those of the United States. …

  • A weekend of premium cars
    A weekend of premium cars

    Good news to all luxury car fanatics as PGA Cars, the exclusive importer and distributor of Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley cars in the country, will be holding the PGA Cars Premium Festival from May 29 to May 31 at the PGA Center in Global City in Taguig. The 3-day event will showcase PGA’s latest […] The post A weekend of premium cars appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda
    APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda

    Trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Boracay, Aklan agreed yesterday to endorse the proposed Boracay Action Agenda to the member countries’ leaders, presenting opportunities for global trade for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a press conference following the conclusion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who also served as chairman, said ministers agreed to recommend the adoption of the …

  • Talks with China over sea row urged
    Talks with China over sea row urged

    The Philippines should engage China in bilateral talks in its efforts to maintain peace and order at the disputed West Philippine Sea, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday. Escudero supports the government’s move to bring the issue before international arbitration but also stressed the need for the Philippines to pursue talks with China. Escudero made the statement after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. …

  • House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills
    House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills

    The House committee on national defense is deliberating on a measure mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide. Authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the bill mandates that risk reduction drills be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units. “The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator …

  • PCSO running out of funds
    PCSO running out of funds

    Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Ireneo Maliksi has admitted that the revenue-generating agency is running out of funds as it continues with its mandate to provide financial assistance to indigent Filipinos. Aside from providing financial help to individual recipients, Maliksi cited at least 13 laws that mandates the PCSO to provide mandatory contribution to different government agencies. Just last week, PCSO released P100 million to the Commission on Higher Education as …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options