08/07/2012, 00.00
PHILIPPINES

Torrential rains flood Manila. Tens of thousands of displaced

In some central areas water has exceeded three meters. The government closes schools, government offices and the stock market. La Mesa dam overflows in Quezon City and sweeps away whole neighborhoods. The flooding follows the passage of Typhoon Saola.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Torrential rains continue to fall on the west coast of the Philippines after the passage of Typhoon Saola, which left 51 dead. This morning, floods struck the island of Luzon and the capital Manila. In some areas of the old town water levels exceeded three meters. Tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. Today, the government closed all schools and public buildings, including the stock exchange. Rescue operations are currently focusing on saving thousands of people were stranded overnight in their cars and trucks. So far there are reports of dead, wounded and missing.

The worst flooding occurred near the La Mesa dam (Quezon City), which provides electricity to the entire capital. After 24 hours of rain, this morning the basin spilled over, sweeping away entire neighbourhoods such as Malabaon, Valenzuela and Caloocan. Along the Marikina River, the police have been struggling for hours to evacuate more than 5 thousand residents of shantytowns built on the banks of the watercourse.

Today, President Benigno Aquino, asked rescuers and members of the government for their "maximum effort" to help people affected by the flooding and typhoon. To help in rescue operations the army has deployed hundreds of soldiers, 200 boats and over 20 trucks to transport essential goods.

Dozens of typhoons hit the Philippines each year, causing deaths and serious damage to crops and infrastructure. In late September, typhoon Nesat caused over 100 deaths. In 2009, the country was reeling from the passage of tropical storm Ketsana and typhoon Parma which in Manila alone claimed more than 1000 lives and left 3 million people displaced. Some areas of the city and the northern Philippines remained flooded for months and even today still suffer damage from the storm and typhoon.

Saola is the seventh of 20 typhoons and storms that, according to meteorologists, will strike the Philippines this year.

 

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