Floods inflict $1.8m damage on Manila

August 23, 2013 - 4:08:08 am

Residents hit by flooding due to heavy rains exacerbated by Tropical storm Trami take shelter at a basketball gym serving as an evacuation centre in the town of Calumpit, Bulacan province, yesterday.

Manila: The Philippines estimates agricultural and infrastructural losses, caused by southwest monsoon floods triggered by tropical storm Trami, to around $1.791m (P79m).

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) yesterday said, “The damage to infrastructure amounted to $1.273m (P56,582,000) while damages to agriculture amounted to $501,518 (P22,286,659).”

The Philippines regions affected by the storm and the ensuing floods are Cordillera Administrative Region as well as regions I, IVA and IVB from surge of the southwest monsoon.

Infrastructure damage NDRRMC reported today concentrated in Region IVB. The data shows location and cost of the damage in Occidental Mindoro (P3.49m), Oriental Mindoro (P4.39m) and Romblon (P48.70m) provinces.

Cost of rice and corn damages in CAR as well as regions IVA and IVB totalled P18.32m while damage to fisheries in Region I reached P3.97m.

A total 662 areas in 88 municipalities/cities under regions I, III IVA, IVB and NCR were reported flooded and 22 houses were totally damaged while 38 others suffered partial destruction in regions I, III, IVA and CAR, the NDRRMC added.

Weary Filipinos mopped up yesterday after four days of rains that officials said had killed 18 people and forced more than half a million from flooded homes.

Residents swept out their muddy floors as floods receded, having covered half of Manila’s metropolitan area on Tuesday, rescue officials said.

“It’s all mud and garbage, and our television set and electric fan were destroyed,” shoemaker’s wife Flordeliza Miranda said as she returned to the family’s shanty beside the San Mateo river that was under water on Tuesday.

“We have not eaten anything since last night,” said the mother-of-two, who had slept in a tent atop a nearby bridge amid the deluge.

Philippine National Red Cross secretary-general Gwendolyn Pang said floods have receded in all but about 10 percent of the metropolis of 12 million people.

“We continue to give support to victims of the monsoon,” she said, adding the focus was shifting from emergency food aid to longer-term needs for the displaced.

The bad weather killed 18 people, said Reynaldo Balido, spokesman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, updating an earlier toll of 16.

More than 214,000 people were still crammed into government-run shelters late yesterday, while nearly 346,000 others are staying with friends and relatives, he added.

Many of the displaced were newly tallied in farming areas in the provinces north of Manila, where nearly 500 villages remained under water.

In the town of Calumpit, housewife Cora de Castro, 58, and seven children and grandchildren were crammed into a wet, noisy covered basketball court along with about 300 other flood victims.

“It is difficult here. We cannot sleep,” she said.

“At least there is (tap) water here. It comes from the faucets in the bathrooms so I don’t know if it’s clean,” she added.

In Manila, trading resumed at the Philippine Stock Exchange and offices were getting back to work. But most schools have declared emergency holidays for the rest of the week as buildings are cleaned up or used as evacuation centres.

Since Sunday Manila and neighbouring provinces have experienced the most intense rains in four years.

Floodwater swept through low-lying communities, forcing thousands into crowded evacuation centres like gyms, where people were forced to sleep at close quarters on the floor with cardboard for bedding.

In Cavite province near Manila, the floods dislodged concrete tombs at one cemetery, depositing them on the side of a highway.

State weather forecaster Bernie de Leon said 671.6 millimetres (26.8 inches) of rain fell on Manila between Sunday and Wednesday -- more than the monthly average of 504.2 millimetres for August.

The seasonal monsoon had been worsened by Tropical Storm Trami, which went on to hit China yesterday.

The Philippine islands endure about 20 major storms or typhoons annually, generally in the second half of the year and many of them deadly.

“This is the worst since (Ketsana),” De Leon said, referring to a 2009 storm that killed more than 460 people and left 80 percent of Manila submerged.