Heavy floods in Philippines: 1 dead, over 43,000 forced to flee homes

Muddy water has turned streets into rivers and flooded shopping malls, houses and commercial buildings

By AFP

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Photo: AP file
Photo: AP file

Published: Wed 22 Nov 2023, 2:46 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 Nov 2023, 3:38 PM

At least one person was killed and tens of thousands were forced to flee their homes after heavy downpours triggered flooding across the central Philippines, authorities said Wednesday.

Rescuers used inflatable boats and ropes to reach people stranded in their houses in Northern Samar, one of the hardest hit provinces, where villages and towns have been inundated after a week of rain.

The provincial capital Catarman received more than a month's rainfall in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning, with muddy water turning streets into rivers and flooding shopping malls, houses and commercial buildings.

"The monthly rainfall in Catarman is around 450 millimetres but yesterday alone was 619 (mm)," state weather forecaster Benison Estareja told AFP.

More than 43,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, the national disaster agency said, while they wait for floodwaters to subside.

A woman died in Pambujan municipality in Northern Samar after being hit by a tree during a landslide, local disaster chief Pedro Balanquit told AFP.

"The rivers are still overflowing... because the waters from the mountains flow down there," Balanquit said.

"The floods reached the top of two-storey houses."

The Philippines -- which endures about 20 major storms a year -- is ranked among the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change.

Because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change increases the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme rainfall.

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