Thousands of residents have fled flooded communities and swollen rivers in the Philippine capital, Manila, and outlying provinces after days of torrential monsoon rains that left at least one villager dead.
Officials say they are struggling to open more emergency shelters in order to allow social distancing among the displaced residents and prevent evacuation camps from turning into epicentres of Covid-19 infections. In the hard-hit city of Marikina in the capital region, nearly 15,000 residents were evacuated to safety overnight as waters rose alarmingly in a major river.
“This situation will be too difficult if there won’t be a permanent solution to flooding, especially now with the threat from the Delta [Covid] variant,” the Marikina mayor, Marcelino Teodoro, told local media.
Teodoro blamed years of illegal logging in nearby mountains and heavy siltation in the Marikina River for constant flooding in his city.
In the mountainous northern city of Baguio, a resident died on Friday afternoon after the taxi she was riding in was hit by a falling tree, police said. The northern Philippines has been swamped by days of monsoon rains that flooded low-lying villages and set off minor landslides.
Typhoon In-fa, which has churned off the country’s eastern coast and dumped rain on Taiwan before blowing towards China, intensified the seasonal downpours, forecasters said.
A cargo boat overturned after being lashed by strong waves on Saturday close to a port in the Pio Duran town in Albay province, south-east of Manila. Its 10 crew were rescued by police, firefighters and villagers, who used a long rope to pull the overturned boat closer to the coast.
Coast guard personnel rescued several residents trapped in their houses by rising floodwaters on Friday in the Naujan town in Mindoro Oriental province south of Manila.