Mon, Sep 19, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Seven left dead after Philippine floods

AP , MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Floods, landslides and a boat accident following days of heavy rains have left at least seven people dead in the Philippines, officials said.

The Office of Civil Defense said the flooding affected more than 25,900 people, including 2,242 who had to be evacuated from their communities in seven northern provinces and metropolitan Manila. Many have since returned home.

The civil defense office said 43 villages in the northern provinces of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija were still underwater on Saturday.

Officials in Muntinlupa city, a Manila suburb, said the body of a 24-year-old man -- who had been swept away by a swollen river along with his two nieces, ages 1 and 2 -- was recovered under a bridge near his riverside shanty.

The youngest girl's body was later found in a lake that the river empties into. Coast guard divers were searching for the other child.

Civil defense spokesman Anthony Golez said a 13-year-old boy, his 5-year-old sister and a 33-year-old woman died in a pre-dawn landslide Saturday in a village outside the mountain town of Banawe in northern Ifugao Province. No one was reported missing .

Golez said the bodies of two teenage girls, who went missing after a boat capsized in rough waters in Lake Sebu in the southern province of South Cotabato, were recovered on Saturday. Seven students on the same boat had been rescued, he said.

Officials blamed garbage-clogged drainage canals for the quick rise and slow retreat of floodwaters in metropolitan Manila.

The seasonal monsoon rains that drenched wide areas on the main northern island of Luzon were aggravated by a low pressure system that swept through the region.

On Thursday, a river overflowed and flooded a major highway in northern Aurora province with up to 3m of water, forcing authorities to reroute traffic. Landslides blocked a highway in Real town in nearby Quezon province. The rains eased on Saturday and forecasters said they expected the weather to improve by today as the system moved away from the country.

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