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7 confirmed dead as Typhoon Vamco hits Philippines

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered government agencies to rush to the rescue after a powerful typhoon killed at least seven people and unleashed the worst flooding in Manila in recent years.

Mr Duterte cut short of a virtual meeting of Southeast Asian leaders on Thursday to test the effects of Typhoon Vamco, after which he urged his colleagues to fight the effects of climate change urgently.

The typhoon, which was the eighth to hit the Philippines in the last two months at 21, has forced residents to shake their roofs, waiting for rescue after tens of thousands of homes were submerged.

In the town of Luzon on the main island, which has a population of half of the country’s 108 million people, among those killed were drowned people, an old man hit by a tree and three workers being crushed during the collapse of a warehouse.

It struck areas still reeling from Goni, the most powerful typhoon in the world this year, which killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes earlier this month.

“Rest assured, the government will not leave anybody behind,” Mr Duterte said in a national address, pledging shelter, relief goods, financial aid and counselling.

Nearly 200,000 people were moved before Vamco arrived late on Wednesday packing winds of 155km/h and gusts of up to 255km/h.

It has since weakened and exited the mainland.

Mr Duterte told South-East Asian leaders the devastation of recent weeks was “a stark reminder of the urgency of collective action to combat the effects of climate change”.

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

Coastguards swam through brown floodwater as high as electricity poles in some areas, while rescue workers used rubber boats and makeshift floats to move children and the elderly to safety.

The typhoons have battered the Philippines as it faces an uphill struggle to breathe life into its withering economy while keeping coronavirus infections under control.

Residents posted images on social media of flooded homes and the disaster agency said parts of 36 cities and towns were inundated.

Vamco was headed towards Vietnam, where devastating floods and mudslides over the past month have killed at least 160 people in central areas.

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