Death toll up to 240 in Philippine floods


Manila : The death toll in the devastating floods brought about by storm Ketsana in the Philippines has climbed to at least 240, with 37 still missing, the government said Tuesday.

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Nearly two million people were affected by the deluge in Manila and northern provinces, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said.

More than 370,000 of those affected were forced to stay in cramped and squalid evacuation centres, the council said.

The Philippines Monday issued an international appeal for help as the government struggled to cope with the disaster, the worst to hit Manila in more than four decades.

Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said the death toll could still go up as more unconfirmed reports of deaths were accumulating.

Some affected areas were still isolated and could not confirm casualties due to downed communication lines, while floods in other places have not yet receded.

He said help from foreign governments would ensure that relief work continued unhampered amid warnings that two new tropical depressions could hit the Philippines within the week.

“We are trying our level best to provide basic necessities, but the potential for a more serious situation is there,” he said. “We cannot wait for that to happen.”

Ketsana struck the Philippines Saturday, dumping one month’s worth of rain in Manila and outlying provinces. The rainfall was the heaviest in the capital since 1967.

Damage to property and agriculture was estimated at 2.33 billion pesos ($49.6 million).