Thick mud and debris coated many villages around the Philippine capital Friday after a typhoon caused extensive flooding that sent people fleeing to their roofs and killed at least 39 people.
Thousands of people have been rescued, though waters have mostly receded. The military was rescuing people in places where waters remained high.
Amphibious assault vehicles usually used in counter-insurgency operations were deployed for the rescue work, military chief of staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay said in an emergency meeting with disaster-response officials.
“We’ll continue to look for the missing, help in damage assessment,” Gapay said. He reported 39 deaths and 32 other people missing.
Typhoon Vamco passed north of Manila between Bulacan and Pampanga provinces overnight Wednesday and early Thursday, toppling power poles and trees and damaging homes.
More than 350,000 people had been evacuated to safety, mainly residents fleeing vulnerable coastal and low-lying areas before the typhoon hit. Philippine National Police said more than 100,000 people had been rescued, including 41,000 in the capital region.
At least 3.8 million households lost power in metropolitan Manila and outlying provinces, but crews have restored electricity in many areas and power was expected to be fully restored in about three days. Government offices were closed and classes suspended for public schools 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 remain displaced.
The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year and also had active seismic faults and volcanoes, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.
Associated Press journalists Aaron Favila and Joeal Calupitan contributed to this report.
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