Seven dead as heavy rains pummel flooded Philippines

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 14:24

Manila: Flood-battered residents of the Philippine capital fled their homes or sat on rooftops on Tuesday as relentless monsoon rains, which have killed seven people, submerged more than half of Manila.

Streets turned into rivers with water above two-metres in some parts of the megacity of 12 million people, displacing more than 1,30,000 people and forcing countless others to wait out the storm in or on their flooded homes.

"We have had nothing to eat, nothing to wear. A few people went to houses on higher ground, but most of us had nowhere to go," Dinah Claire Velasco, 44, a resident of a blue-collar coastal district on the outskirts of Manila told a news agency.

"My children and other people were able to seek refuge on the second floor of my house but a lot of others had to just sit on their roofs... We`re waiting for rescue, for help, even just food."

At least 60 per cent of Manila was flooded today morning, with some places enduring waters climbing as high as 2.1 metres, an official with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority told the briefing.

In one part of the capital, 47.5 centimetres of rain fell in the 24 hours yesterday morning, according to Esperanza Cayanan, a meteorologist in charge of Manila for the state weather forecaster.

She said this was the same amount as which normally fell for all of August, already one of the wettest months of the year.

In a potentially serious escalation the Marikina River, a key waterway that cuts through eastern Manila, began to overflow today afternoon, and 20,000 people close by were ordered to evacuate, the local mayor, Del de Guzman, told a news agency.

These people were on top of the 131,000 people across the main island of Luzon, including Manila, that the government said were in evacuation centres or seeking shelter with relatives and friends.

Groups involved in the rescue effort said they were being overwhelmed.

"We are getting a lot of calls for rescue... We would really be hard pressed to rescue all of them," a Philippine Red Cross official told a government briefing on the floods, which was broadcast on national television.

While no-one was reported killed in Manila, four more people were confirmed to have drowned in flooded farming provinces to the north, said Reynaldo Balido, a spokesman for the government`s disaster management council.

This brought the confirmed death toll from two days of flooding across Luzon to seven.

The economic toll also started to grow, with the stock exchange, government offices and schools in Manila closed for a second consecutive day.


First Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 14:24
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