#NasaanAngPangulo: Duterte takes to the skies to survey 'Ulysses' floods

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 12 2020 05:44 PM

#NasaanAngPangulo: Duterte takes to the skies to survey 'Ulysses' floods 1
President Rodrigo Duterte flies over flooded areas to check the impact of Typhoon Ulysses, Thursday. Photo courtesy of Sen. Bong Go

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte led Thursday an aerial inspection over Metro Manila and nearby areas where Typhoon Ulysses brought the worst flooding in years, trapping people on rooftops. 

Floods submerged thousands of homes in low-lying suburbs, as seen in photos shared by Sen. Bong Go, Duterte's former aide who joined the aerial survey. 

The President undertook the aerial survey after drawing flak over his supposed absence while the typhoon ravaged Luzon. He explained Thursday that while he wanted to go to typhoon victims, he was being prevented by aides. 

Duterte earlier said the government was "on top of the situation," pledging relief funds, goods and shelter for victims as well as post-disaster counseling. 

He also told Southeast Asian leaders that Ulysses is "a stark reminder" of the need to address climate change, and that developed countries "must lead in deep and drastic cuts in carbon emissions." 

Ulysses, the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, battered a nation still reeling from Rolly, the world's most powerful typhoon this year that killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes early in November.

The latest typhoon, which has also left 4 missing, comes as the Philippines is still grappling with a wave of COVID-19 infections and a battered economy.

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Video courtesy of Presidential Communications Operations Office's Facebook page 

In some suburbs east of Manila residents took refuge on 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 with 15 family members and neighbors.

Roughly 40,000 homes had been either fully or partially submerged in Marikina City, Mayor Marcelino Teodoro told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, calling the situation "overwhelming" and the worst since a typhoon flooded large swathes of Manila in 2009.

"The local government cannot handle this," Teodoro said, requesting motorized boats and airlifts. 

Nearly 3 million households in and around Manila were without power as people waded through waist-high floods, carrying valuables and pets.

Coast guard rescuers had to swim in flood waters as high as electricity poles, while rescue workers used rubber boats and makeshift floats to carry children and the elderly to safety.

Big waves and strong winds in Manila Bay budged a tanker, damaging a bridge.

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 after exiting Luzon island, home to half of the Philippines' 108 million people.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, experiences around 20 tropical storms a year that often continue on their track to hit Vietnam, China and Taiwan. 

- With a report from Reuters