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Philippines Flooding Brings Manila To A Standstill

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

Floods bring Philippines capital to a standstill

At least 15 people have been killed and 250,000 have fled their homes after more than 24 hours of torrential rain in the Philippines capital Manila. Officials say the heavy rain triggered a landslide in a slum in northern Manila, which buried several houses. The bodies of nine members of one family have been recovered and four people have been rescued alive. The search is continuing, with rescuers unsure how many more people are missing.

"The rain softened the soil and four houses were buried," said Maribel Mendoza of the local public safety office. In nearby provinces also hit by floods, four people drowned in Bulacan and two were killed in Batangas. Officials say half of the capital is flooded, with water in some areas neck deep. "If we put it in a percentage, at least 50 per cent of Metro Manila is flooded," Gine Nievarez from the state weather service said.

More than 250,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, but rescuers are struggling to get to others who have been stranded by the rising waters. Schools, businesses and most government offices in the city are shut.


Rosario Brutas, a market vendor in Bacoor, a town south of Manila, said she and her husband woke to discover their home already partly submerged. "We woke up before dawn to find our bed afloat," the 32-year-old said from a hospital courtyard where her family and their neighbours had taken refuge.

The rain is not expected to ease for at least another day, and has already caused the most extensive floods in the Philippines since a typhoon that killed hundreds three years ago. Cora Agulan of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said there were many calls for help but in some areas it was too dangerous for rescuers to try to reach those stranded. "The current is too strong so we have to tie our rubber boats with ropes to keep them from being swept away," she said.

President Benigno Aquino said the government was doing everything it could to help. "Everybody who is supposed to do something is doing what he is supposed to do," he told reporters after meeting with civil defence officials. Bad weather from seasonal south-west monsoons has been pounding Manila and nearby areas for over a week. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said more than 800,000 people had been affected, with 18,600 in government evacuation centres and some 231,000 seeking refuge with friends or relatives.

Tuesday's deaths brought the number of people killed by the monsoon rains across the Philippines to 68 over the past week, according to civil defence officials.


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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

At Least 14 Killed as Manila Suffers Worst Flood in Three Years

At least 14 people were killed as floodwaters swept across the main Philippine island of Luzon, paralyzing Manila and forcing 130,000 to flee their homes. Floods caused by torrential rains spread across about 50 percent of metro Manila, an area half the size of Los Angeles, Jean Navarez from the state weather bureau said today. Civil defense chief Benito Ramos said the storm may cause as much damage as Typhoon Ketsana, which killed more than 400 people when it flooded Manila and parts of Luzon in 2009.

“It looks like water world,†Ramos said during a televised media briefing in Manila. “This is unusual. There is no typhoon but this is causing so much trouble.†The deluge crippled transport links in the capital, forcing the closure of schools, offices and financial markets. The government is monitoring districts threatened by landslides after being criticized for a slow response to previous natural disasters in the country, which is regularly battered by cyclones that form over the Pacific Ocean.

“They shouldn’t just respond to crises, they should prepare for them,†Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform in Manila said by phone. While President Benigno Aquino’s administration bought Doppler radars and enhanced forecasting, little improvement has been made to infrastructure, Casiple said.

Three people drowned in Bulacan, north of Manila, Superintendent Noli Pacheco said in a mobile-phone text message. In Batangas, south of the capital, two children drowned while trying to cross a swollen river, provincial police spokeswoman Aleli Buaquen said. A landslide in Quezon City killed nine people, the government’s disaster risk reduction agency said.

Floodwaters submerged Barangay Tumana in Marikina and some of the town’s 25,000 residents were stranded on rooftops, Marikina Congressman Miro Quimbo said by phone. Landslides may threaten districts north of Manila, including Antipolo City in Rizal, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje told ABS-CBN. Heavy rain will probably continue until tomorrow morning, the weather bureau said. The storm dumped 40 millimeters of rain per hour at its peak, the bureau said.

“We can only expect two things as the rain continues -- landslides and flash floods,†Ramos said. “Even if it doesn’t rain that hard, the soil is already saturated and could no longer accommodate the water.†Manila and Pampanga province were also rattled by an earthquake as a magnitude-5.3 temblor struck Occidental Mindoro province at 1:03 p.m., the local volcanology institute said. In metro Manila, almost 130,000 people fled their homes, said Susana Cruz, a member of the civil defense office. At least 15 main roads in Manila aren’t passable to all vehicles, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said in a televised briefing. Flooding near Laguna Lake may take as long as two months to subside, he said.

Malls operated by SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPH) are open wherever possible to provide people with necessities or shelter, the company said in a statement. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (TEL) and Globe Telecom Inc. (GLO) canceled briefings on their second- quarter results today. The government’s statistics office also postponed the July inflation report until tomorrow. The damage caused by typhoons and other disasters in 2011 reached 59.2 billion pesos ($1.42 billion), Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told lawmakers yesterday.

“Agriculture will take a hit, especially if the storm worsens and damage spreads to the rice growing areas,†said Radhika Rao, an economist at Forecast Pte in Singapore. “We could see inflation head higher in the third quarter. The central bank will be mindful of loosening in September.â€

Saola, Washi

Today’s deluge comes after tropical storm Saola killed 53 people in the Philippines and damaged farms and infrastructure last month, the disaster risk agency reported on its website today. In December, Aquino ordered a probe of the government’s response to Tropical Storm Washi, the most lethal tropical storm to hit the country since Typhoon Ketsana. “This could be as bad as Ketsana if the floods persist,†Ramos said. “Right now, it’s a long way from that level.â€


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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

Thousands Flee Manila Flooding, Desperate Residents Trapped on Roofs


“It’s like Waterworld,†said Benito Ramos, the head of the government’s disaster relief agency, referring to a Hollywood film depicting a submerged Earth.

Major streets in Manila turned to rivers on Monday after a series of tropical storms intensified what has historically been a period of heavy monsoon rains.

Schools, business and government offices were ordered closed while city residents watched in horror as neighborhood after neighborhood was submerged. Tens of thousands of city residents were rescued or swam to safety. Others huddled on rooftops in hopes that the waters would subside.

Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Red Cross of the Philippines, described a perilous situation for rescuers, many of whom were using rafts and makeshift boats to traverse flooded slum areas.

“We have areas where our people can’t get in because there are live wires in the water. They face the risk of electrocution.†said Mr. Gordon. “We just have to grin and bear it and do our best to rescue people.â€

In Quezon City, a hard-hit suburb of Manila, nine people including three children were killed on Tuesday when a landslide triggered by heavy rain buried a slum area.

Nine provincial areas near Manila declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, triggering national government relief efforts. For much of the day on Tuesday, the only major highway linking Manila to the north of the country was submerged and closed to traffic, stranding hundreds of motorists. The United States Embassy Web site


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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

It's not looking any better this morning:

Philippines rushes aid to 850,000 people affected by floods

Emergency workers and troops rushed food, water and clothes to nearly 850,000 people displaced and marooned from deadly floods spawned by 11 straight days of southwest monsoon rains that soaked the Philippine capital and nearby provinces.

About 60 percent of Manila, a sprawling metropolis of about 12 million people, remained inundated on Wednesday, Benito Ramos, head of the national disaster agency, told Reuters, Eleven people were reported killed on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 64 since steady rains started when Typhoon Saola hit northern portions of the main Luzon island in late July.

Financial markets reopened after being shut on Tuesday, but schools and many businesses remained shut for a second straight day with the military, police and civic officials struggling to deliver aid as water swept through the city turning major roads into rivers. Still, many people were reluctant to leave flooded homes, fearing a loss of valuables, officials said.

"We're also asking people living along swollen riverbanks to evacuate," Ramos said. "If there is a need for us to force them to leave their homes, we will do that for their own safety." Jesse Robredo, the interior secretary, said the government has started drawing up plans to permanently relocate residents along riverbanks and coastal areas to reduce property and human losses during the rest of the typhoon and monsoon season. The national disaster agency said on Wednesday morning it had distributed food, water, clothes and medicines to people marooned inside flooded homes and at temporary shelter areas.

"We were hoping to go home because it's difficult here. The sleeping conditions are not comfortable, and it's not easy to get food," Joyce Anne Diri, a mother of three, told Reuters at a temporary shelter in flooded Marikina City in the eastern part of the capital. The seasonal monsoon rains in the Philippines gathered strength this year from Typhoon Saola and as tropical storm Haikui travelled through the Philippine Sea this week. But the rains should dissipate by Thursday, the weather bureau said, as Haikui made landfall in China.

On Wednesday, the weather bureau lifted the rainfall alert level even as the volume of rainfall in the last 24 hours rose to 390 mm (15.3 inches) from 323 mm in the previous day. The highest recorded 24-hour rainfall was 454 mm in September 2009, inundating 80 percent of the capital and resulted in the death of more than 700 people and destruction of $1 billion (641.1 million pounds) worth of private and public property. The combination of almost two weeks of constant rains and an overflowing lake that fed into the Pasig River, a tidal estuary swollen well beyond flood crest, was made worse as the high tide pushed in more water from the western ocean bay.

"We're still concerned about the situation in the coastal areas," Ramos said after conducting an aerial survey of hard-hit areas. "It was difficult to distinguish the sea from the flood waters." Four provinces near Manila were placed under a state of calamity, including the rice-growing provinces of Bataan and Pampanga. The farm department estimates the damage so far to crops, mainly rice, at 152 million pesos ($3.6 million).



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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

Sun shines after relentless rain, revealing tons of flood debris in Philippine capital

MANILA, Philippines — Thousands of Filipinos shoveled muck and debris from flood-ravaged homes, shops and roads under a shining sun Thursday after nearly two weeks of nonstop rain shut down the capital and forced hundreds of thousands to flee from the deluge.

At least 23 people died and nearly 2 million people were affected by Manila’s worst flooding since 2009. More than half of the sprawling metropolis of 12 million was submerged at the peak, and schools and offices have been closed for days. Under a hot sun Thursday as the rain finally stopped, residents began to fix disheveled homes and stores in flood-hit communities that resembled a wasteland littered with mud-caked garbage. Some of the displaced in still-crowded evacuation centers have begun to trickle back to neighborhoods, where floodwaters have subsided, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said, but more than 314,000 people remained in hundreds of evacuation centers in Manila and outlying provinces.

“We were totally washed out,†said Rudy Aquino, a flower shop owner along Araneta Avenue, where more than three meters (10 feet) of rampaging floodwaters swamped everything and carried all sorts of trash and even a wayward cargo truck. Aquino, whose shop also was hit by the more massive flashflood in 2009, was moving to a safer location when the deluge engulfed his business on Tuesday and again late Wednesday when floodwaters rose again. As he tried to rise from the latest onslaught, a fresh supply of red orchids arrived at his shop Thursday as he and staff were cleaning up.

Even though the weather has cleared, the government was busy with rescue and relief work in the worst-hit areas, especially along swollen rivers and coastal communities. In hard-hit Marikina city in the capital, rescuers on rubber boats floated down still-flooded streets to reach thousands of residents marooned in submerged houses along the Marikina River. After the rains stopped, thousands of shoppers descended on grocery stores to stack up on food and other supplies.

The flooding has rattled the nerves of tens of thousands of people who had to be evacuated for the second time in as many days after returning home during a brief respite of dry weather early Wednesday. “They are hard-headed. Now that the waters are high again, they got scared and they are calling us to be rescued,†said police Senior Inspector Abner Perdosa, who led a team of rescuers in orange shirts helping residents across waist-deep muddy waters into government-run shelters. Minerva Mercader, a beauty parlor worker, said she and her children had returned to their house near a river in suburban Quezon City when the weather cleared Wednesday, only to rush back to a Roman Catholic church when the waters rose again.

“I got scared because the sky was so dark and there was this downpour,†said Mercader, who was dripping wet from the rain as she stepped into Santo Domingo Church with her three children. The 23 deaths reported since Sunday include nine people killed in a landslide in Quezon City and several who drowned in outlying provinces. Classes were suspended this week as cities declared a state of calamity, and government offices were slowly reopening. The U.S. Embassy remained closed Thursday.


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