Marikina LGU admits lapses in Typhoon Ulysses response, appeals for government help

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 12) — Marikina City on Thursday appealed to the national government for aid in rescuing residents stranded in their homes due to the wrath of Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco), with Mayor Marcelino Teodoro admitting the local government's lapses and lack of resources to respond to all those who need urgent help.

Among those needing rescue are relatives of Julieanne Mendoza. She is safe inside a school building being used as evacuation center, but she is worried for several members of her family stuck on their roofs waiting to be rescued.

During her interview with CNN Philippines, she shared live clips of her video call with her family. She said the flood's quick rise took them by surprise, with the water submerging their three-story home in Marikina's Barangay Malanday.

"May mga kamag-anak po kami na na-trap sa Malanday. Nasa bubong po sila. May mga bata pa po kasi, may bagong panganak. Sobrang bilis po kasi ng pagtaas ng tubig," she told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: Some of our family members are trapped in Malanday. They are on the roof. One recently gave birth, there are also children. Floodwaters rose quickly.]

Mayor Teodoro had a similar description of Ulysses' impact. He said the effect of the typhoon is different from other cyclones that hit their city, even the devastating Tropical Storm Ondoy in 2009. He said this time, water crept up and quickly rose even in areas that are not flood-prone.

"Napakabilis ng pangyayari. Tulad ngayon mahina na ang pag-ulan sa Marikina pero kita mo tumataas pa rin ang tubig sa ilang lugar," he added.

[Translation: It all happened so fast. Right now, the rain is getting weaker but water levels continue to increase in some areas.]"

Authorities in Marikina started forcibly evacuating residents near the swollen Marikina River at 3 a.m. All 47 evacuation centers in the city are full, with some evacuees seeking temporary shelter in nearby homes. The city also deployed 57 rubber boats, but Teodoro said their resources are not enough to respond to all those who are in need. The local chief executive has asked the national government to send help, but he said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has sent only one rescue boat so far.

"Sabi ko hindi pwedeng isang team lang, napakaraming lugar na binaha... Inaasahan ko ang timely response," he said.

[Translation: I told them they cannot just send one team, so many people need help. I expect a timely response.]

Teodoro took accountability for the delay in rescue operations for families like that of Mendoza and hundreds more awaiting rescue.

"Aminado ako na talagang nagkukulang ang pamahalaang lokal ngayon sa bagay na iyan... Inaamin ko ang pagkukulang namin sa pagkakataong ito. Hindi naman namin maipagmamalaki ito," he said. "Tuloy-tuloy, hindi kami titigil sa rescue operations."

[Translation: I admit our local government's shortcomings. We are not proud of this. But we will continue with the rescue operations.]