Philippines Typhoon Vamco smashes country leaving dozens dead as shocking pictures reveal apocalyptic devastation

DOZENS have been killed and tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed after the most deadly typhoon of the year tore through the Philippines.

Police and soldiers have been searching for missing people after Typhoon Vamco lashed the country on Wednesday night and killed at least 42 people.

Typhoon Vamco, the most deadly cyclone to hit the country this year, tore through the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday and early on Thursday, just as the country was recovering from Goni – the world's strongest typhoon of 2020.

Torrential rain from Vamco inundated low-lying areas of Manila and surrounding provinces, trapping people on rooftops and balconies.

As floodwaters receded and residents returned home, the scale of the apocalyptic devastation left by the typhoon became clearer.

Tens of thousands of home have been destroyed by floodwater.

In Marikina City, one of the hardest hit areas of the capital, mud-covered washing machines, televisions, couches, office chairs and bicycles were piled up on streets as residents swept debris and floodwater from their houses.

"We don't know how to start cleaning. Mud is so thick up to the second floor," Gilbert Gaston, a Marikina resident, told DZMM radio.

At least 42 people have died in the disaster, while 43 were injured and 20 are still missing, police data shows.

Among the casualties, five died and six more people were missing in a landslide in Banaue town.

Three people died when a warehouse collapsed in Cavite province.

A landslide near a gold mine killed 10 people in Nueva Vizcaya province north of Manila, police chief Ranser Evasco told DZBB radio.

In Cagayan province, four died in a landslide and two drowned, Governor Manuel Mamba said.

About 450,000 households in and around Manila remain without power and virtual classes and government work are still suspended in Luzon – home to half of the Philippines' 108 million population.

The Philippines has been hit by eight typhoons the last two months, worsening the battle against coronavirus infections and an economic recession.

Defending the response to the latest disaster, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government "acted fast".

"Unfortunately we couldn't do anything about the floodwater which rose too fast… but we made sure no one will be left behind," he said.

Officials said many people had ignored orders to evacuate their homes and were caught by surprise by the fast-rising waters.

Philippine National Police said more than 100,000 people had been rescued, including 41,000 in the capital region.

The severity of the flooding in Manila and neighbouring province of Rizal sparked comparisons with the devastation caused by Typhoon Ketsana in 2009 which killed hundreds.

The Philippines has the second-highest number of Covid-19 infections and casualties in southeast Asia, behind Indonesia.

Nearly 75,000 people are still packed into evacuation centres, some without proper separation between families and many evacuees not wearing masks.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said makeshift shelters increased the risk of coronavirus transmission, alongside leptospirosis and diarrhoea.

After Vamco, up to three more typhoons are expected to lash the Philippines before the end of December, the state weather forecaster warned.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, experiences around 20 tropical storms annually.

Typhoon Vamco is now approaching central Vietnam, where devastating floods and mudslides since early October have killed at least 160 people.

It is expected to make landfall on Saturday. 

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