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Rains devastate Manila

Aug. 8, 2012 at 12:46 AM   |   Comments

MANILA, Philippines, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The rains that deluged Manila appeared to be easing Wednesday, but not before leaving several dead in the already typhoon-crippled Philippine capital.

As rescue and emergency workers began cleaning up in the wake of virtually non-stop downpour and counting the dead, which could exceed a dozen from flooding and landslides, the presidential palace announced Wednesday national government and private sector work should resume.

A spokesman said despite the incessant rains, government offices and other institutions need to reopen to assist those hit by massive flooding in Metro Manila and several provinces in Luzon, including Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal, the Philippine Star reported.

Luzon, in the northern Philippines, is the country's main island where Manila is located.

Schools in the many of the affected locations, however, were to remain closed Wednesday as the threat of more bad weather had not been ruled out.

"As we emerge from this emergency, let us bear in mind the many thousands of our countrymen who will continue to need our assistance and support," presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in his statement.

The densely populated capital was hit by torrential rains only days after Typhoon Saola roared through the region, killing more than 50 people in Luzon, driving thousands out of their homes, and causing much damage.

The latest rains, which triggered landslides and another round of severe flooding, left much of Manila and neighboring areas under water.

At least a dozen people have been reported killed, but the toll could rise, authorities said.

The BBC reported more than 80,000 people had been housed in emergency shelters as soldiers and rescuers used rubber boats to reach those stranded in their homes. Fears of looting led some people to leave their flooded homes.

The report said among those killed were nine members of a family buried in a landslide in nearby Quezon City.

The Wall Street Journal quoted authorities that several more people have been reported missing. Forecasters have not ruled out more such rains as Philippine President Benigno Aquino III met with disaster officials.

The Journal said many of Manila's main roads remained under water, affecting transportation and rescue and relief efforts.

"People are already on the roofs of their houses," Mayor Len Oreta in Malabon, a low-lying town in Manila, said in a television interview.

CNN, quoting local reports, said Manila received about 20 inches of rain Tuesday, while forecasters had warned the 12 million residents in the capital region that more could be on the way.

"It's like a water world," the local news agency quoted Benito Ramos, head of the disaster agency, as saying.

The New York Times reported pictures of some of the hardest-hit areas showed people clutching ropes or anything to escape the fast currents.

The Times said the flooding is the worst to hit the area since two storms in 2009 killed more than 900 people.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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