Despite the absence of a typhoon, monsoon rains which dumped 300 millimetres (12 inches) of rain in the Philippine national capital region (NCR) caused half of Metro Manila to be flooded. The amount is thrice the daily average of 80 to 100 mm of rain, the Philippine weather bureau said.
The inundation is similar to what happened in September 2009 when Typhoon Ketsana battered the country and dumped over 450 mm (18 inches) of rain in just 24 hours which flooded 80 per cent of the NCR then.
As a result of the inundation, life in Metro Manila has been paralysed with all efforts concentrated on rescuing residents from the flood which has threatened to reach the second floor of homes in some areas and providing the basic necessities for about 270,000 evacuees.
The flooding caused no trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange and the closure of schools and government and private offices on Tuesday. Schools will remain close on Wednesday in Metro Manila as well as nearby provinces in the main island of Luzon.
The death toll has reached 15 including members of a family in Quezon City after a landslide buried four houses in a slum area. The fatalities include an infant, young children and the elderly who died from the landslide or drowned.
While the national government has yet to extend the suspension of work in the government and private sector in affected areas for Wednesday, reporting for work would be a challenge for many residents since many streets remain impassable due to high levels of water.
The Philippine weather bureau estimated at least 50 per cent of Metro Manila is still under water. Benito Ramos, the executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, described the NCR as a Waterworld. He explained the inundation to the soil being saturated because of several days of continuous rain, causing the sea and the flood waters to look line one single body of water.
Lessons learned from 2009 have more people prepared for natural catastrophes in a bid to avoid a repeat of the aftermath of Ketsana which killed 900 people. So far, there have been 50 deaths recorded since the rains started a week ago.
However, local officials complained that despite appeals for residents of low-lying areas to evacuate before the water level rises, many hesitated for fear of losing their belongings. It has resulted in government agencies and media being inundated with requests for rescue from second floors or rooftops as the flood had reached up to 15 feet in some areas.
While Tropical Storm Haikui, which fueled the monsoon rains in the Philippines, is headed for China's Zhejiang province, the Philippine weather bureau forecast more rainfall until Thursday.
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