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September 27, 2009

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Thousands flee heavy Manila rain, flooding

NEARLY a month's worth of rain fell in just six hours yesterday on the Philippines' capital, stranding thousands on rooftops in the city and elsewhere as Tropical Storm Ketsana slammed ashore.

The government declared a "state of calamity" in metropolitan Manila and about two dozen storm-hit provinces, said Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, who heads the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

Nearly 2,000 people were evacuated in Manila and surrounding areas, a disaster council report said.

The mayor of Cainta in nearby Rizal Province, who was stranded on a dump truck on a road that was neck-deep in water, told ABS-CBN television by phone that many residents climbed onto roofs to escape.

"The whole town is almost 100 percent underwater," Mayor Mon Ilagan said.

About 34.1 centimeters of rain fell over metropolitan Manila in just six hours, close to the 39.2-centimeter average for the entire month of September, said government weather bureau forecaster Vic Manalo.

He blamed the downpour on thick rain clouds brought by Tropical Storm Ketsana, which packed 85-kilometer-per-hour winds with gusts of up to 100 kilometers per hour when it hit land early yesterday about 80 kilometers northeast of Manila.

A dozen flights in and out of the central and northern Philippines were canceled because of poor visibility.


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