MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday deployed its disaster response units to flooded areas in the capital region and some Southern Tagalog provinces to rescue residents badly affected by Typhoon Ulysses.
Authorities are closely monitoring the situation in Marikina were residents were left trapped on rooftops while others sought higher ground as Typhoon Ulysses brought heavy rains and floods, the AFP said in a statement.
“The AFP through the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) has deployed disaster response units in and around Metro Manila to assist local governments in rescuing and delivering aid to residents affected,” the press release read.
“We are particularly closely watching the situation in areas along the Marikina river that are experiencing heavy flooding due to the continuous heavy rains brought by the typhoon,” it added.
As of 9 a.m., the current level of the Marikina River was higher than the peak 21.5 meters set during Typhoon Ondoy's onslaught in 2009.
Evacuation is ongoing, the AFP said, and JTF-NCR’s Naval Task Group already assisted city disaster risk reduction units with their rubber boats, trucks, and personnel.
“These were augmented by two disaster response units composed of three teams from the 7th Civil Relations Group, 101st Search and Rescue volunteers, and REACT PH volunteers that were deployed at 6:30 a.m. to Marikina City. Another amphibious team has likewise augmented the teams dispatched in Marikina earlier,” it said.
According to the AFP, a search and rescue unit composed of two teams from Bantay Bayan and the 1301st volunteer group were also deployed to areas along Tullahan river and Caloocan.
Two WASAR (water search and rescue) teams were already sent to help out in San Mateo and Rodriguez towns in Rizal in rescuing residents affected by heavy flooding. Two more teams are also on the way.
“Search and rescue helicopters are on standby for deployment to Marikina and Rizal as soon as the weather permits.”
Typhoon Ulysses has reportedly killed 2 people and forced some 170,000 to flee their homes. It comes just a week after Super Typhoon Rolly devastated parts of Luzon and left at least 19 dead.
Bicol, Southern Tagalog regions
A total of 126 disaster response units with more than a thousand trained personnel were deployed in areas battered by Ulysses, said the military
Along with it comes 150 mobility assets, 7 rubber boats, and 6 air assets for humanitarian and disaster response operations.
The Northern Luzon Command, meanwhile, is conducting clearing operations in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte because of multiple reported landslide incidents.
“We ask the public in these areas to heed calls for pre-emptive evacuation and cooperate with government units for their safety,” AFP said.
Weather bureau PAGASA said Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon will continue to experience heavy to intense with at times torrential rains until Thursday afternoon.
The weather agency added Ulysses is "comparable" to Tropical Storm Ondoy which struck the capital region in September 2009 and left at least 464 dead.