2 killed, 6 missing as floods hit Manila

Posted at 07/22/2012 12:17 AM | Updated as of 07/22/2012 5:30 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Two people were killed and six others are missing in the Philippines as floods inundated parts of Manila and nearby areas while a storm tore through the country's north, authorities said Saturday.

The civil defense office said rescuers are on standby to help residents evacuate if necessary as creeks and open sewers in the capital overflowed from overnight rains, swamping nearby slums and causing traffic jams.

The rains began to ease by midday after plunging some areas in knee-deep waters, but civil defense chief Benito Ramos said he could not rule out further flooding as runoff from nearby mountains descends into Manila Bay.

"All that rain up there would eventually find their way here," he told AFP, referring to the mountains to the east of Manila.

"We have CCTV cameras to monitor the (Manila) rivers' water levels, and we have 44 evacuation centres ready and stocked with food and other items by our local government units," Ramos said.

Army reservists would be called up to help should evacuations become necessary, he said, while stressing there was no need for large-scale evacuations at the moment.

Local officials in the metropolis of 14 million declared a school holiday as intense rains that Ramos said averaged 30 millimetres (1.2 inches) per hour swamped parts of the capital and nearby areas.

The state weather service said the rainfall exceeded 40 millimetres in some areas of Manila.

Ramos said a man had drowned at a swollen creek in the northern town of Naguilian while rescuers retrieved the body of a man who fell into a river late Friday in Lumban, near Manila.

Four fishermen are missing in stormy waters off the northern town of Bolinao, while two children were missing after being swept away in other rivers, he added.

A minor storm was moving away from the country's northwest coast on Saturday after dumping rain across the north, Ramos said.

However the state weather service said the bad weather in the capital was mostly caused by a seasonal monsoon.

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