Manila under siege

Manila under siege
RESCUE: (Above) A woman holding a crying child as they and other flood victims (left) are evacuated in a rescue boat after their homes were swamped by heavy flooding in Marikina, Metro Manila.

MANILA, Philippines - Rescuers aboard rubber dinghies, some motorised and some powered by paddles, plucked people from flooded homes.

People held on to lengths of rope to get to high-ground safely and avoid being pulled by the strong currents.

Two soldiers involved in the rescue sat on the bonnet of a stranded military truck that appeared to have been disabled, while the roofs of cars and other smaller vehicles bobbed above the floodwaters.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development estimates that around half a million people have been affected by the floods, while two have died in Quezon City because of rising water levels, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Fung Wong's winds were relatively light, with a recorded maximum speed of 85kmh as it brushed past the north-eastern tip of the main island of Luzon around noon.

But it brought heavy downpours of more than three weeks' worth of rain overnight across Manila, more than 400km to the south, state weather forecaster Gener Quitlong told AFP.

The hardest-hit area appeared to be the Marikina river valley in eastern Manila, where brown, swiftly flowing water rose at least a storey high on heavily populated communities near its banks.

In all, flooding had forced at least 50,000 people to flee their homes in and around Manila, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman told a news conference.

Angry

"I am angry that I have to do this each time it rains hard," lawyer Ghelynne del Rosario told AFP. Her northern Manila bungalow was swamped by chest-deep water.

Cradling her dog, she said she, her mother and grandmother - who is in her 80s - waded through the water at daybreak to reach safety on the second floor of a neighbour's house, with her two other dogs swimming alongside her.

An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, killing hundreds and bringing misery to millions.

WHAT: Tropical storm Fung Wong

WHEN: Yesterday

WHERE: Manila, the Philippines

TOLL: Two dead, thousands homeless


This article was first published on September 20, 2014.
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