Sarangani flood forces hundreds to flee homes

Posted at 09/10/12 11:14 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Almost 2,000 people were forced to flee their homes in the southern Philippines after heavy rains caused rivers to burst their banks, the government said on Sunday.

Residents in Sarangani province in the southern island of Mindanao fled to safety before dawn Saturday to take refuge in makeshift shelters, a government gymnasium or with relatives, said civil defence chief Benito Ramos.

He said early evacuation that took place before the flood struck saved lives in contrast to widespread flooding that occurred last month in other parts of the country which left 170 dead.

"It was the pre-emptive evacuation: that is why there were no deaths or injuries," he told AFP.

He said the floods were easing and people were starting to return home.

Storms and flooding from torrential rain left affected more than two million people in August.

The Philippines endures about 20 major storms or typhoons each rainy season.