Philippines braces for new typhoon, thousands still stranded
Sep 30, 2011, 11:37 GMT
Manila - Philippine disaster relief teams on Friday scrambled to help thousands of people trapped in flooded towns in northern provinces expected to be hit by a new typhoon at the weekend.
Flood waters rose overnight in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija as major dams released water ahead of typhoon Nalgae's projected landfall on Saturday.
The three provinces were the worst hit by typhoon Nesat, which killed 43 people and left 30 missing.
The weather bureau said Nalgae, with maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometres per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 170 kph, had picked up speed and would hit the northern provinces on Saturday morning.
It warned residents that Nalgae, which was moving west at 26 kph, would worsen the floods and could trigger more landslides.
'We need to move all those in danger, in particular, let us help each other persuade fisherfolks and residents of coastal, low-lying and mountainous areas to be on alert and be extra cautious,' President Benigno Aquino III said in a statement.
The Office of Civil Defence (OCD) said nearly 1 million people were affected by Nesat , which caused damage to infrastructure and agriculture worth 3.99 billion pesos (88.93 million dollars).
In Calumpit town in Bulacan province thousands of residents clambered onto their roofs overnight because of the floods.
Rescue teams helped 8,000 residents to move to evacuation centres across Bulacan.
'There are too few rescue teams coming to help,' an elderly man from the town told a Manila radio station. 'Please tell them to come. My grandchildren are very hungry now.'
The man said the flood waters quickly rose overnight and reached beyond 2 metres in some areas.
Calumpit Mayor James de Jesus said 26,000 families were affected by the floods in 22 villages.
'We are experiencing a flood unprecedented in 40 years,' he said. 'This has never happened before, even the municipal hall is flooded.'
OCD chief Benito Ramos admitted that there were not enough rescue teams deployed at the height of Nesat's onslaught, but stressed that operations were picking up ahead of Nalgae.
The national police and the coast guard have also dispatched additional teams to help in the relief and rescue operations.