Residents on rooftops as Typhoon Ulysses batters Luzon

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 12 2020 10:09 AM | Updated as of Nov 12 2020 11:07 AM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Residents climbed rooftops or sought higher ground as Typhoon Ulysses' fierce winds and torrential rains inundated large swaths of Luzon Thursday. 

The storm has killed at least 1 person and forced some 170,000 to flee their homes. It comes just a week after Super Typhoon Rolly devastated southern Luzon and left at least 19 dead.

Marikina Vice Mayor Marion Andres called on national government to assist in rescue operations as the water level in Marikina River rose to 22 meters, prompting forced evacuation.

"Ako po ay nananawagan sa national government ho talagang medyo malaki na itong sitwasyon na ito eh," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(I'm calling on the national government, this situation has become big.)

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines has deployed rescue teams, said spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.

"Ang ating hamon sa ngayon ay sa dami ng humingi ng tulong, di natin kayang respondehan on our own," he said, adding that the military coordinates with local disaster officials in prioritizing rescues.

Camille Pabustan, a resident of Barangay Malanday in Marikina, said she and her family were trapped in the 3rd floor of their house.

"Hindi naman naming inaasahang aabutin kami kasi mataas na po ito," she said.

(We did not expect floodwaters will reach us because this is a high place already.)

"Lubog na po, nasa bubong na po ang iba," she said of neighboring houses. "Mahirap din po kapag nagrescue, di rin po maaabot ng rescue dahil wala pong dadaanan basta-basta."

(Other houses have been submerged in floodwater. Others are on rooftops. Rescue will be hard because there's no path we can take.)

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In Quezon, where Ulysses hit land thrice, local officials have yet to establish communication in the Polillo group of Islands and Patnanungan town, said disaster official Melchor Avenilla.

"Nararamdaman na po ang malakas na ulan pero di na po masyado malakas ang hangin. Baka tumaas pa po ang lebel ng tubig," he said.

(We are experiencing strong rains but winds have somehow weakened. Water level may still rise.

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Twenty out of 41 local governments in the province have no electricity, Avenilla said. Electricity in most of the towns was cut off for precautionary measures, he added.

Authorities in Rizal have launched rescue operations in the towns of Rodriguez and San Mateo, said disaster official Dong Malonzo.

Local officials have coordinated with the Philippine Coast Guard, Malonzo said as the province experienced moderate to strong winds and moderate to heavy rainfall. Two rubber boats were sent to Barangay San Jose in Rodriguez, according to ABS-CBN reporter Adrian Ayalin.

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Ulysses was last estimated in the vicinity of Cabangan, Zambales as of 7 a.m., moving west northwest at 30 km per hour while packing maximum winds of 130 kph near the center and gusts of up to 215 kph, PAGASA said.

It is forecast to exit Luzon landmass on Thursday afternoon or evening.