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Manila battered by floods again

Half of city under water; downpour may last for days

A resident crosses a flooded street in Olongapo City on Tuesday (Photo by Anthony Bayarong) A resident crosses a flooded street in Olongapo City on Tuesday (Photo by Anthony Bayarong)
  • Joe Torres, Manila
  • Philippines
  • August 7, 2012
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Tens of thousands of people in Metro Manila and nearby provinces have been evacuated as torrential rains have caused flooding as high as three meters in places.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration declared a red alert yesterday evening after nearby dams and rivers overflowed. At least 50 percent of Metro Manila is inundated and the capital is effectively paralyzed.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council says the combined death toll from last week's typhoon Saola and the monsoon rain that started on Sunday has climbed to 53.

Five people have been reported missing with 35 injured and about a million people in 35 provinces affected by the flooding.

The government suspended work and classes in the metropolitan area and surrounding provinces of Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan.

As of noon today, the weather bureau warned of more heavy to intense rain to come, with the red alert over Metro Manila still in place. Residents have been asked to remain vigilant and take precautionary measures.

Enhanced by tropical storm Haikui 300 km northeast of Taiwan, the monsoon rains are expected to last  until Thursday.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said there are already 100 evacuation centers in 11 regions affected by monsoon rain, 42 of them in the National Capital Region.

The Health Department has issued a "Code Blue" alert, with medical personnel on 24-hour standby and hospitals and community health units readied for an influx of casualties.

The Manila Electric Co. has cut off power in some parts of the city.

Damage to property and agriculture has been estimated at P411.8 million (US$9.86 million). At least 1,246 houses have been destroyed while 6,609 have been damaged.

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