Philippines

Philippines: Typhoon Vamco Operation Update Report, DREF Operation n° MDRPH042

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Description of the disaster

Typhoon Vamco (locally known as Ulysses) with maximum sustained winds of 155 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 255 kilometers per hour. The typhoon made its first landfall in Patnanungan, Quezon south of the capital Manila at 10:30 pm local time on 11 November 2020, while the second landfall occurred in Burdeos, Quezon at 11:20 pm on the same day. On the following day, typhoon Vamco made its third landfall in General Nakar, Quezon at 1:30 am.

Destructive winds and heavy to intense rainfall were experienced over central and southern portions of Aurora, the northern portion of Quezon including Polillo Islands, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Metro Manila, and Rizal.

Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued flood advisories for river basins in Pampanga, Cagayan, and Bicol region ahead of the anticipated landfall of the Typhoon Vamco. A flood advisory was issued for the Pampanga River Basin due to the slow to gradual rise of the upper main Pampanga River and its eastern major tributaries — Coronel, Digmala, Santor, Penaranda and Angat rivers. PAGASA warned of possible rain induced landslides and flash floods at the western slopes of Sierra Madre mountains particularly in the eastern part of Nueva Ecija, eastern part of Bulacan, and Pampanga-Tarlac area.

Typhoon Vamco is the Philippines' 21st tropical cyclone for 2020. Still suffering from Super Typhoon Goni, Bicol was the first to face Typhoon Vamco's winds and rain, as the typhoon triggered floods in parts of the region. The island province of Catanduanes and provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur, that bore the brunt of Typhoon Goni in late October, a Category 5 typhoon that killed 25 people and left six people missing were also affected by strong winds and rain.

However, the main impact of the typhoon was to Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces. The densely populated capital region of Metro Manila, though not directly hit by the center of the typhoon, was also affected with floods, fallen trees and power cables down leading to power outages across different cities. Nearby dams were closed due to spilling, which risked aggravating the flooding. Airline flights and mass transit in the capital were suspended while the coast guard stopped port operations. Government work was suspended, and financial markets were shut. Hundreds of residents were forced to flee their homes as water in Marikina River surpassed the peak level during the onslaught of Typhoon Vamco.

The figures reported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which reflect damage by the Typhoon Vamco.

As of 11 November 2020, the Office of Civil Defense in the Bicol Region has recorded one death, while three others missing, and more than 170,000 displaced in Bicol due to Typhoon Vamco. According to report released by AHA Centre on 11 November 2020, an estimated 19.1 million people, 3.61 million households, and 126 billion US dollars of infrastructure were potentially exposed to moderate to severe damaging winds.

Typhoon Vamco has affected the provinces already mentioned while authorities and partner organizations in the Philippines are already responding to public health emergencies (measles and polio, MDRPH032), earthquakes (Mindanao, MDRPH036), typhoons (Phanfone, December 2019 MDRPH038; Goni, October 2020 MDRPH041), returnees (Mindanao MDRPH040) and COVID-19 operations (MDR00005).