KEY POINTS

  • Typhoon Vamco was the third storm to hit the Philippines in less than four weeks
  • A NASA satellite image shows a major river is still swollen
  • Typhoon Vamco affected over three million people

A NASA satellite has captured the image of flooding in the Philippines after three typhoons successively battered the country.

Typhoon Vamco, locally known as Typhoon Ulysses, hit the Islabela and Cagayan provinces of Luzon, Philippines, on Nov. 11 and 12, devastating the region with landslides and extreme flooding. A week after Typhoon Vamco passed the country's largest island, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a natural-color image of the northern part of the island, showing the Cagayan River that was reeling from the effects of the typhoon.

In the image, captured by the satellite on Wednesday and shared by NASA Earth Observatory, one can see that the Cagayan River is still swollen even days after the typhoon has passed, with muddy water flowing into the Philippine Sea.

Philippines Flooding Pictured: Satellite image of northern Luzon, Philippines days after the devastating Typhoon Vamco. The image was captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite on Nov. 18, 2020. Photo: Aqua-MODIS/NASA Earth Observatory

The Earth Observing Satellite (EOS) images of the Cagayan River before and after the floods show how much water the area received.

Typhoon Vamco was the third storm to hit the Philippines in a span of four weeks, which was preceded by Typhoon Molave in late October and Super Typhoon Goni on Nov. 1. All three brought a significant amount of rain, NASA Earth Observatory said.

By the time Typhoon Vamco hit the archipelago, the Cagayan River was already swollen from the two earlier typhoons. The release of water from Magat Dam, which is one of the largest in the country, to prevent it from reaching the critical spilling level also contributed to the flood, a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) explained.

Typhoon Vamco affected 3.67 million people in the country, displacing over 277,000 and killing 73. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire island of Luzon under a state of calamity. Although the water has been receding of late, many in the affected areas continue to struggle with the floods, with over 67,000 of their homes destroyed or severely damaged. 

The country's Department of Health has also released a warning regarding possible outbreaks of water-borne and food-borne illnesses because of the current situation in the affected areas, OCHA said and reiterated the need to take precautionary measures against COVID-19.

Vamco has already caused widespread damage in the Philippines Vamco has already caused widespread damage in the Philippines Photo: Philippine Coast Guard / Handout