MANILA - Help is coming, the interior department said Thursday, as torrential rains from Typhoon Ulysses lashed Luzon, killed at least one person and paralyzed parts of the capital Manila where some residents awaited rescue by boat due to rising flood waters.
Authorities will deploy search-and-rescue choppers as soon as the weather clears, said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
"Kaya natin ito, malalampasan natin ito... Kaunting tiis at pasensya lang, help is on the way," he said in a government briefing.
(We can do this, we can get past it. Just endure it and have some patience, help is on the way.)
"Iyong mga kababayan natin na na-stranded, mga nasa bubong, 'wag kayong mag-alala. Parating na ang tulong. And'yan na iyong iba," the official added.
(To our compatriots who are stranded, who are on their roofs, do not worry. Help is coming. Some are already there.)
Ulysses, the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, battered a nation still reeling from Rolly, the world's most powerful typhoon of 2020 that killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes early in November.
The latest typhoon, which has left 3 missing in a coastal province, comes as the country is still grappling with a wave of COVID-19 infections and a battered economy.
In some suburbs east of Manila residents took refuge on top of their flooded homes.
"Just a few steps remaining on our third floor and we have yet to see any rescuer," said Carla Mhaye Suico, a resident in Pasig City, while sheltering on her roof with 15 family members and neighbors.
Arlyn Rodriguez, a resident in Marikina City, told TeleRadyo she was awaiting rescue with 20 others, mostly children and elderly after the floods rose quickly.
Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said 40,000 homes had been either fully or partially submerged in the area.
In parts of Manila, people waded through waist-high floods, carrying valuables and pets, while rescue workers ferried residents around in boats.
Flights and mass transit in Manila were suspended while the coast guard stopped port operations. Government work was suspended and financial markets were shut.
Ulysses has now weakened as it moves across Luzon, home to half of the Philippines' 108 million people.
- With a report from Reuters