Torrential rains flood half of Philippine capital

Torrential monsoon rains flooded half of the Philippine capital on Tuesday, killing at least 16 people as rampaging waters swept away homes, destroyed bridges and triggered a landslide in a shanty town.

Some residents were marooned on their roofs as parts of Manila were submerged in waters above head height in the worst flooding to hit the chaotic city of 15 million people since hundreds of people died three years ago.

"Right now we're on a massive rescue operation," Office of Civil Defence director Edgardo Ollet told AFP, warning the death toll would rise after people had ignored warnings to leave their homes.

"We are positive we still have more dead because there are some who won't evacuate."

Bad weather from seasonal southwest monsoons and Typhoon Saola had already pounded Manila and nearby areas for over a week, soaking the ground and raising dam levels to capacity.

Meteorologists said more than half the amount of rain normally seen in August then fell on the city in 24 hours, and warned the deluge would continue overnight and into Wednesday.

Rescue workers on rubber boats and military trucks were deployed in the flooded areas to pick up stranded people on Tuesday.

But they could not reach all areas and residents took to social media to appeal for help. On Twitter, #rescuePH quickly gained currency as the main hashtag used by people to send or gain information about the floods.

In the worst reported incident, nine people from the same family died in a landslide on a mountainous area of northern Manila near the city's reservoir that is populated by thousands of mainly illegal squatters.

"They were buried alive. It happened suddenly. We heard a crash, and then people crying out in pain," Honeyleta Ibrega, a neighbour of the landslide victims, told AFP.

A bus driver drowned in central Manila and six other people were confirmed to have drowned in surrounding areas, according to a government hospital and the civil defence office.

Tuesday's deaths brought the number of people killed by the monsoon rains across the Philippines over the past week to 69, according to authorities.

Another 80,000 people in and around Manila were in schools, gymnasiums and other government buildings set up as evacuation centres, according to the government.

However countless others were seeking shelter with friends or relatives, or hoping to wait out the crisis in their homes.

The Philippines has millions of people living in shanty towns, and the scale of a crisis such as Tuesday's flooding often means people have to fend for themselves.

Angie Angeles, a 33-year-old housewife, who had moved her family of nine and some of their salvaged belongings onto their roof in a lower-class southern district of Manila, said she intended to remain at home.

"We have no place else to go. There is no place to sleep at the evacuation centres," Angeles told AFP as the water was waist deep in her home around lunchtime on Tuesday.

Schools, financial markets and most government and private offices were also shut on Tuesday, while power was turned off in some parts of the city as a precautionary measure with the waters seeping into electrical facilities.

The breadth and ferocity of the floods brought back memories of tropical storm Ketsana, which killed 464 people as 80 percent of the capital was flooded in September, 2009.

Government weather forecaster Glaiza Escullar told AFP that Tuesday floods were close to the levels seen during Ketsana. However she said the 2009 floods were more dangerous because they were more sudden.

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.

  • Philippine, Vietnamese troops play soccer and sing on disputed island

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and sang karaoke on a South China Sea island on Wednesday in a sign of the growing security ties between the two Southeast Asian nations most at odds with Beijing over the contested waterway. Cooperation has blossomed between Hanoi and Manila since they shelved decades of enmity over their competing claims in the Spratly archipelago to try to counter China, whose creation of artificial islands in the region …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Fall on renewed U.S. rate hike concerns

    BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tumbled on Wednesday as investors resumed selling on expectations of an interest rate hike in the U.S. sooner rather than later, derailing Philippine ... …

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options