A new tropical storm is expected to slam the Philippines, just one week after a monsoon submerged the country’s capital, killing nearly 100 people. Tropical depression “Helen” is currently gaining speed in the Pacific, churning at a speed of 34 miles per hour. The state-run weather bureau says it will develop into a tropical storm. It’s expected to hit the northern part of the country – an area that still remains largely under water from last week’s relentless rains. Nearly half a million residents are already being housed in evacuation centers after losing their homes in the intense flooding. Others are struggling by living in partly submerged homes.
“These are the people we are most worried about. We have not fully recovered, and here comes another storm,” Civil Defense Chief Benito Ramos told AFP. Two weeks of unyielding rain poured down on the Philippines last week, covering 80 per cent of Manila. Although the capital is expected to avoid the worst of Tropical Storm Helen, it’s not completely in the clear. The area is still expected to be pounded by heavy downpours. "The ground is already wet and saturated, and we could have landslides and flash floods," Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, who oversees the weather bureau, told reporters.
The government has admitted to being overwhelmed by the scale of the relief effort, with access to toilets at evacuation centers and getting relief goods to the homeless proving to be a major problem. "I hope to God this new storm doesn't happen," said Fe Bermejo, a 64-year-old grandmother from Valenzuela – one of the hardest hit coastal districts. Bernmejo was speaking to reporters while standing in a line for relief goods from the Red Cross. But the government and charitable organizations can’t seem to provide relief goods quickly enough to the hundreds of thousands of victims throughout the country.