» 08/08/2012, 00.00
Manila, 16 dead and over 700 thousand displaced by floods
Relentless rain for 72-hours. Capital and the northern provinces of Luzon island worst hit. 90 municipalities submerged or swept away by the raging waters.
Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The death toll from floods caused by monsoon rains that hit Manila and several provinces of the island of Luzon rises to 16, where 72-hour non-stop rains. Besides the capital of the provinces most affected are Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, with over 90 municipalities flooded by the waters. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, there are nearly 1.5 million displaced, of which about 700 thousand are sheltered in evacuation centers and other makeshift shelters organized by rescue teams and local communities.
Benito Ramos, head of the department for natural disasters, says "rescue operations are on maximum alert. Although in many areas the water has stopped rising, millions of people are stranded on the roofs of their houses." He explains that many people refused to leave their homes for fear of looters. In the areas most at risk rescue personnel brought aid from house to house. Today, President Benigno Aquino has asked the population to work together and be supportive. "The government - he said - does not have infinite means" and what it does have must be reserved for those most in need.
Yesterday, the authorities allocated 300 thousand Euros in humanitarian aid. The rescue personnel is supported by more than 5 thousand soldiers and coast guard.
Today, meteorologists have announced an improvement in the coming days, even if it continues to rain in many areas, especially in the northern provinces of the country. Last week the island of Luzon was hit by Typhoon Saola that claimed over 50 lives. The flooding of recent days is the worst since 2009.
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Winds top 120 kilometres per hour. The most affected region is in the northern Philippines. Panic grips Manila’s shantytowns, where most victims are located. President Aquino slams weather service for failing to warn the population in time.
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Mgr Antonio J. Ledesma makes an appeal. The death toll now stands at 700 people with an additional 800 still unaccounted for. The prelate urges help for the homeless. Caritas and other Catholic associations are in the forefront of the aid operations for flood victims.
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Two weeks after the passage of tropical storm Ketsana Caritas Philippines provides food for a value of 400 thousand Euros to 10 thousand families in the capital.
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Church and Catholic organizations provide food to the flood affected population. So far a total of 1.6 million spent. Archbishop of Manila: "Do not just pray for the flood victims, we must comfort them and help them start over."
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