Heavy monsoon rain triggered by tropical cyclone has hit about 305,481 people across the country, state agency reports
Rescuers evacuate flood-affected people in Quezon City of Philippine capital Manila. (Photo: Disaster Risk Reduction Committee of Quezon City)
A tropical cyclone has triggered heavy monsoon rain, inundating various parts of the Philippines including national capital Manila that left tens of thousands affected, officials said.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that intermittent rain due to southwest monsoon is caused by Super Typhoon Saola (Goring).
The government deployed coast guards and aid groups sent hundreds of workers and volunteers to rescue women, children and elderly who were trapped in their homes in various slums in Quezon City of Metro Manila.
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Heavy downpours caused flooding of the streets in various parts of Manila.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that 305,481 people have been affected by heavy monsoon rain and flooding in seven regions in the country.
Carlos Frias, head of the Disaster Risk Reduction Committee in Quezon City, said rescuers faced difficulties as roads in several areas were impassable for about 48 hours.
“We rescued about 300 individuals. The majority of them from the squatters’ area [slums] because the water level in the river is rising rapidly,” Frias said.
“We rescued stranded passengers trapped in train stations. They had no mode of transportation except for boats,” he added.
One evacuated passenger said he requested his neighbors to bring his child to a relative.
“My brother lives a few blocks away from our home. My wife and I are both working in a mall, so I immediately asked help from my neighbors to ask my son’s caregiver to bring him to my brother’s house,” janitor Francis Valles, 38, told UCA News.
Valles said he and his wife took the train and did not mind if they got stranded at the station as long as their son was safe.
He said their area is flood-prone, but they cannot move out because of their low income.
“Hopefully, we can move out this year if my wife gets a promotion and pay hike,” he added.
An elderly couple thanked their parish priest who offered them an evacuation drive hours before flood waters entered their home in Marikina City where the river increased to 15.7 meters on Aug. 31.
“We thank our parish priest because without him we would not be here in the church… safe… we will pray here for those whose homes were destroyed by the floods,” Karl De Guia, 74, told UCA News.
De Guia said he and his wife could no longer wait for their son who is employed in the business district of Makati when the river started to swell due to incessant rain.
“He (son) called and told us to seek help from our neighbors. We immediately gathered our clothes and some cash… after about 30 minutes, our parish volunteers came to pick us up,” De Guia added.
Micai Hababag, a pregnant woman, has found shelter at a basketball court turned evacuation site in Quezon City. She wants to return home before her imminent delivery in the first week of September.
“My husband and I prepared for the birthday day of our firstborn, then this happened… I think we will give our baby a nickname after the Typhoon Goring (Saola),” the 32-year-old call center agent told UCA News.
Philippine authorities ordered the cancellation of all classes and government work on Sept. 1 due to flooded streets and heavy rains.
Only government agencies involved in the delivery of basic and health services, preparedness and response to disasters and calamities, and the performance of other vital services, "shall continue with their operations and render the necessary services," Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos’ executive secretary Lucas Bersamin said in a statement.
Catholic charity Caritas has prepared to dispatch hundreds of sacks of rice, toiletries and tents for the evacuees.
“In times like this, we will prioritize those who really need help like in the depressed areas or those living under the bridge or near the rivers, whose houses were totally wrecked by the floods,” Caritas Philippines president Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo told UCA News.
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