9 killed in Quezon City landslide

Posted at 08/07/12 5:38 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - A landslide triggered by heavy rains killed nine people and injured four others in a northern suburb of Manila on Tuesday, the disaster agency said.

A neighbour of the landslide victims, Clarisa Kunyacao, said she heard a rumbling noise early in the morning.

"I went out because their house was right beside ours. I saw it collapse. Then I was calling them, and telling them to get out. It was too late. They were crushed and they died underneath," Kunyacao said.

The dead were all members of the same family, and the injured victims were neighbours, the disaster agency said.

Officials said the shanty community of 100 homes in Quezon City had long been considered a landslide risk.

Aldo Mayor, public safety chief of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said the victims included 3 children a 2-month-old baby.

One of the victims was identified as Jefferson Baylon, whose body has been recovered by authorities.

The other fatalities have yet to be identified.

Philippine police chief Nicanor Bartolome told a local radio station that they feared more landslides as the heavy rains had saturated the soil on which many homes were built, and that they were enforcing a strict evacuation order.

"We will concentrate on advising residents to evacuate," Bartolome said.

Torrential rains submerged wide areas of the Philippine capital and surrounding areas on Tuesday, forcing nearly 270,000 people to flee their homes, authorities said.

Water levels reached over some residents' heads in several areas in metropolitan Manila, where rescue workers brought the stranded to safer ground.

Officials have deployed troops, police and emergency workers with rubber boats and amphibious trucks.

Most major roads in Manila were inundated by knee- to waist-deep floodwaters.

Some of the affected residents were marooned on rooftops, waiting to be rescued.

"Flood waters were about to reach the second storey of our home. It's difficult to deal with that," said Zeny Balajadia, a resident of Quezon City.

Steady rains for the past 10 days, killing more than 50 people, are set to continue until Wednesday (August 8), fuelled by tropical storm "Haikui", the Philippines weather bureau said.

Schools, financial markets and offices were ordered shut, including outsourcing firms whose corporate clients are mainly from the United States and Europe.

Some flights were delayed or cancelled, and power, water and communications services in flooded areas were disrupted.

Schools and sports gyms were converted into temporary shelters.

The monsoon rains, which dumped about 300 mm (12 inches) or three times the daily average of 80-100 mm (3-4 inches) from late Monday to Tuesday, were the heaviest in three years, the weather bureau said.

Weather authorities have warned of flash floods and landslides, as more rains are expected. - with a report from Dennis Datu, dzMM