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Philippines reels in second typhoon's wake
Hundreds of thousands displaced and many stranded on rooftops after two typhoons in a week batter country's main island.
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2011 09:37

Rescue workers in the Philippines are struggling to evacuate tens of thousands of people trapped in their homes as more floods are forecast in the aftermath of Typhoon Nalgae.

Authorities deployed helicopters, inflatable boats and amphibious vehicles for the evacuation on Sunday but officials said it was close to impossible to pluck everyone to safety.

"We cannot evacuate them all. There are so many of them," James de Jesus, mayor of Calumpit town, said.

"We are calling for help from the armed forces to drop food and water to the thousands still on the roofs or second floor of their homes".

The storm battered the country's main Luzon island for six hours on Saturday, causing landslides and cutting power and communications.

Only one death was confirmed after Nalgae, but the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said at least 52 people were killed when another typhoon, Nesat, hit the country last Tuesday.

More than 2.4 million people were affected by Nesat, which followed roughly the same track as Saturday's storm.

'Too much to cope'

Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas, reporting from Calumpit, said some residents had been trapped on rooftops for five days.

"Government officials have already said the extent of this disaster is too much for them to cope with on their own," she said.

"There are over 200,000 people in government-run evacuation centres after Typhoon Nesat. There are many more who have been displaced.

Many residents have been trapped on their rooftops since Typhoon Nesat hit Luzon island [AFP]

"On top of that, there are hundreds who are still isolated and on their rooftops with nobody able to get to them".

Public buildings including churches, schools and offices were used to accommodate people seeking higher ground. But some residents were hesitant to leave their homes, fearing looting.

In Calumpit, people waded through waist-deep waters in search of food and drinking water on Sunday morning. Some grappled with ropes rigged on lamp posts so as not to be swept away by the strong current.

Volunteers on rubber boats went from one flooded home to another to hand over relief items, including dry clothes and instant noodles.

Government officials have called out on public radio, asking everyone to do what they can to help themselves and each other.

The damage from Nesat alone has been estimated at almost $100m.

Monsoon rains

Recent monsoon rains have ravaged much of central and southeast Asia, causing the region's worst flooding in 30 years.

In Pakistan, at least 230 people were killed and 200,000 left homeless as floods hit Sindh province.

In Cambodia, 141 people have died since August 13 due to flooding of the Mekong river and other flash floods, the Cambodian National Disaster Management Committee said.

Down river in Vietnam, at least nine people have died since seasonal floods arrived in the Delta in August, government reports said.

Meanwhile, 23 provinces of Thailand remained affected by floods caused by monsoon rains that began nearly two months ago.

Elsewhere in Asia, more than 80 people have died and two million have been affected by monsoon rainfall in eastern India.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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