Appeal to help two million Philippine flood victims

Philippine authorities appealed Thursday for help in getting relief to two million people affected by deadly floods in and around the capital, warning that evacuation centres were overwhelmed.

After more than a month's worth of rain was dumped on Manila in 48 hours, entire districts remained submerged although overflowing rivers had started to recede and neck-high waters seen earlier were typically down to knee deep.

The state weather service also dropped its rain warning on Thursday for the sprawling city of 15 million people, and a rare bout of sunshine in the afternoon added to an exhausted sense of relief for many.

Disaster chiefs said the top priority was to help the 2.1 million people affected by the floods, as masses flocked to evacuation centres in search of a dry place to sleep, food, water, medicine and clothes.

"We are repacking a lot of relief items, we need more help and are asking for more volunteers," Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman told AFP.

"We have the food but we need to pack them, deliver and distribute them in this massive operation."

Soliman said many evacuation centres were not able to provide much-needed warm meals to the growing number of displaced.

"Most local government units do a community kitchen, but the volume of evacuees is so big that they have been overwhelmed. We are also appealing for more medicines, blankets, mats and, more importantly, dry clothes," she said.

The number of people in schools, gymnasiums and other buildings that had been turned into evacuation centres rose to 315,000 on Thursday, from 150,000 on Wednesday, according to the government's disaster management council.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of others were left largely to fend for themselves, seeking refuge with friends and relatives, or staying in partly submerged homes.

In the riverside district of Marikina, where massive squatter communities were inundated, some residents returned to their homes on Wednesday night only for another deluge to hit a few hours later and cause another flood spike.

"Last night many came back, but when the alarm rang at 3:00 am they had to evacuate again," said Colonel Perfecto Penaredondo, chief military aide at the civil defence office.

One of those forced to evacuate once more, housewife Alona Geronimo, told AFP she and her neighbours were exhausted and feeling hopeless.

"We were cleaning our house yesterday when the water rose again. No one has caught a wink of sleep here. If we fall asleep, we might die," Geronimo said as she huddled with 13 other people under a grey tarpaulin.

Geronimo said she had not been able to save anything in the floods.

"We have just the clothes on our backs. It was just like Ondoy," she said, referring to a tropical storm in 2009 known as Ketsana in English that submerged 80 percent of Manila and killed 464 people.

Twenty people have died from this week's rains in Manila and nearby provinces, according to authorities.

Officials in provinces surrounding Manila reported on Thursday that at least 10 more people had died, however the national disaster council responsible for the official toll said these had not yet been confirmed.

The deluge came after nearly two weeks of monsoon rains, compounded by a typhoon and tropical storm, that have left 73 people dead across the Philippines.

The Southeast Asian archipelago endures about 20 major storms or typhoons each rainy season, many of which are deadly.

But this week's rains were the worst to hit Manila since Ketsana.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje warned that the Philippines must prepare for more intense rains caused by climate change, describing this week's deluge as the "new normal".

But he and other politicians also emphasised that the extent of the current crisis and the fatalities were man-made, with people being allowed to live in danger-zones and watershed areas being damaged.

Millions of slum dwellers live along rivers such as in Marikina, the swampy surrounds of a huge lake, canals and other areas susceptible to flooding.

Meanwhile, vast amounts of garbage are dumped by a fast-growing population and clog drainage systems.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options