Saturday, June 25, 2011

90,000 flee storm in Philippines

Pedicabs pedal customers down a flooded street after heavy rains in Valenzuela City, north of Manila on June 23, 2011. Ten fishermen were missing at sea and thousands of people fled their homes in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Meari unleashed widespread flooding, rescue workers said. -- PHOTO: AFP

MANILA - NEARLY 90,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the Philippines due to floods caused by Tropical Storm Meari, with 15 people listed as missing, the civil defence office said on Saturday.

In Marikina, a low-lying suburb of Manila, 25,000 people were in evacuation centres after waters reached dangerous levels, the office added. Authorities indicated it was too early to say when people would be able to return home.

Seas were still too rough for small craft, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. One of 10 fishermen who were listed as missing at sea on Thursday had been rescued but the nine others had still not been found. A further three fishermen had failed to return to port by Saturday.

In addition, a woman was washed away by raging waters while two children could not be accounted for amid floods and landslides outside the capital. While Meari only brushed the eastern side of the country, it still brought torrential rain for most of the week.

Even though the storm was about 600km north of Manila and moving further away towards China on Saturday, it continued to add to seasonal monsoon rains, the government weather station said.

Numerous schools closed and at least 26 flights had been cancelled since Friday due to the bad weather, the disaster risk reduction council said. Meari had strengthened and was packing maximum gusts of 135kmh and was forecast to continue moving north at 24kmh, the weather station said. -- AFP

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