Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated and many are still trapped on their rooftops after Typhoon Vamco made landfall in the Philippines on Wednesday night, hitting many of the same communities that were devastated by Super Typhoon Goni just 10 days before.
More than 300,000 people were forced to leave their homes and make their way to more than 13,000 evacuation centers, according to the state-run Philippines News Agency (PNA) as heavy rains and sustained winds batter the country.
Typhoon Vamco, referred to as Ulysses in the Philippines, is equivalent in force to a Category 2 hurricane, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). It made its first landfall at 11 p.m. local time near Patnanungan, Quezon, then continued moving westward, making a second landfall in Luzon. According to PAGASA, the storm has caused flooding and two to three meters of storm surge. The agency warned the rains could cause landslides.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the impact of the storm in central Luzon is particularly damaging because it is hitting the same 1.6 million people affected by Super Typhoon Goni.
“The Red Cross holds particularly grave concerns for more than 240,000 people who lost their homes to Typhoon Goni, especially those who are living in makeshift shelters along the coast as this latest storm hits,” the organization said in a statement, adding that the situation is particularly dire because local government emergency response funds have been depleted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Scientists are warning that climate change is making storms like this more destructive. A study published in May said it was becoming increasingly evident that hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones worldwide are becoming stronger and potentially more deadly as the globe warms due to the climate crisis.