Philippine floods kill three, paralyze capital
By Jason Gutierrez, AFPMANILA--At least three people have died in the Philippines after torrential rain engulfed parts of the main island of Luzon including Manila where neck-deep water swept through homes forcing thousands into emergency shelters.
August 20, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said mountainous areas to the north of the island were experiencing floods of 1.8 meters, following persistent rain that began at the weekend.
One person was killed in a storm-related car accident in the northern Apayao mountain egion while a child was crushed by a collapsing wall and a man drowned in towns just outside the capital.
Four other people are missing including three washed away by floods and overflowing rivers and a local female tourist who got lost while exploring a cave in the northern resort town of Sagada.
In the capital Manila, a megacity of 12 million people, schools, government offices and the stock exchange were closed as a red alert was raised in the morning — the highest level of a warning system in which widespread floods are predicted.
“We are trying to save whatever we can. But it was so sudden,” J.R Pascual, a father-of-four, told AFP as he tried to take the most important possessions from his home that was flooded up to his waist.
“My neighbor wasn't even able to get his car out.”
Pascual lives in a middle-class district of Cavite, a coastal area that is about 15 kilometers from the heart of Manila.
Roads from Cavite and other southern areas into the city were impassable, while some motorists who tried to get through the flooded streets were forced to abandon their cars.
Footage on ABS-CBN television showed people in nearby shanty town communities standing on their corrugated iron roofs, as fast-moving water swept through the windows of their homes.
By early afternoon, the rain had eased and the red alert was lowered for the capital.
Weather forecasters also said more rain was expected to hit Manila and regions to its north in the early evening.
The flooding was due to the normal monsoon being exacerbated by Tropical Storm Trami, which was causing problems despite being more than 500 kilometers from the Philippines, weather forecasters said.