December 8, 2005

Philippine floods kill two, affect thousands

MANILA (Reuters) - Floods triggered by heavy rains in the
Philippines have killed two and affected more than 100,000
people, relief officials said on Thursday as they appealed for
food, water and blankets.

Water levels were rising after three days of continuous
monsoon rain that has burst dykes and forced people in
low-lying areas to flee homes and farms in three provinces
south of the capital Manila, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)

Two people were buried alive in a landslide in Pagbilao
town, Quezon province, disaster officials said. The OCD added
about 60,000 people had been evacuated in Quezon, Camarines
Norte and Mindoro Oriental provinces.

Officials said wide areas were affected by landslides and
floods and that many homes, farms and businesses had been
damaged. Calapan City on Mindoro island was worst hit, they

Doy Leachon, an official in Calapan, told Reuters the dykes
protecting the city had been breached by swollen rivers.

"Flood waters are still rising," Leachon said by telephone.
"We are in need of food, medicine, blankets and other relief
materials. We need rubber boats to evacuate more residents to
safer areas."

He said flood waters in the city had risen chest-deep, with
hundreds of commuters stranded in bus terminals, forcing the
suspension of land travel to the central Philippines.

The army said bad weather had prevented military
helicopters from taking off from bases in Manila and on Mindoro

"We are still waiting for the weather to cooperate," said
Major Jose Broso, spokesman for the Southern Luzon Command.

Environmental activists said the floods were caused by
logging, slash-and-burn farming and quarrying on the mountains
in Quezon and Mindoro island.