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.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR, BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early 70s …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during one …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

  • Miriam pushes tougher graft law
    Miriam pushes tougher graft law

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would make public officials liable for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act even if they are elected to a fresh term or a new position. In filing Senate Bill 2716, Santiago sought to address what she said was the doctrine of condonation in Philippine jurisprudence brought about by the 2010 case of Salumbides vs. Ombudsman. “By merely asserting the doctrine of condonation, erring elective officials are automatically given a …

  • Phl hits back at China over sea infra work
    Phl hits back at China over sea infra work

    The Philippines assailed China yesterday for contesting Manila’s planned repair and maintenance works on some islands in the West Philippine Sea, saying they are “in no way comparable” to the Asian power’s massive reclamation activities which are in violation of international laws. “The Philippines’ possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines rightfully exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options