On November 11, 2020, Typhoon Vamco thrashed the Philippines with sustained winds of 150 kilometers (90 miles) per hour—the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane. The typhoon (known as Ulysses in the Philippines) cut power to millions, caused more than 100,000 evacuations, and killed at least six people.
The storm first made landfall in Patnanungan, Quezon, around 10:30 p.m. and then continued west to hit the island of Luzon, where Manila saw its worst flooding in years. A river in Marikina, located in the Manila metropolitan area, was reported to have risen a meter (3 feet) in less than three hours. The typhoon killed at least 42 people and caused extensive flooding that sent people fleeing to their roofs, officials said.
Troops, police, coast guard and disaster-response teams rescued tens of thousands of people, including many who flooded radio and TV networks and social media with desperate pleas for help.
More than 400,000 people were evacuated to higher ground before the typhoon hit, mainly residents of vulnerable coastal and low-lying areas.
At least 3.8 million households lost power in the capital and outlying provinces, but crews later restored electricity in many areas. Government offices were closed and most classes were suspended Friday.
Vamco hit the Philippines on the heels of Typhoon Goni, one of the strongest typhoons in the world this year, which left more than 30 people dead or missing and damaged or destroyed 270,000 houses. Tens of thousands of people were still displaced when Vamco hit.
The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year and also has active seismic faults and volcanoes, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.