Governor Joselito Mendoza of Bulacan province, north of the capital, said it was tragic that "people drowned in their own houses" as the storm raged.
"We're back to zero," said Ronald Manlangit, a resident of Marikina city, a suburb of the capital, Manila. Floodwaters engulfed the ground floor of his home and drowned his TV set and other prized belongings. Still, he expressed relief that he managed to move his children to the second floor.
"Suddenly, all of our belongings were floating," the 30-year-old said. "If the water rose farther, all of us in the neighborhood would have been killed."
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo toured the devastated areas and prodded villagers to move on. She said the storm and the flooding were "an extreme event" that "strained our response capabilities to the limit but ultimately did not break us."
TV footage shot from a military helicopter showed drenched survivors still marooned on top of half-submerged passenger buses and rooftops in suburban Manila Sunday. Some dangerously clung to high-voltage power lines while others plodded through waist-high waters.
More than 330,000 people were affected by storm, including some 59,000 people who were brought to about 100 schools, churches and other evacuation shelters, officials said. Troops, police and volunteers have so far been able to rescue more than 5,100 people, Teodoro said.
“The floods were not knee-deep, or waist-deep, but roof- deep,” weather bureau Director Nathaniel Cruz said in a phone interview. “This is related to climate change and could be a manifestation of things to come.” The floods were more severe because the ground was already saturated by earlier rain, he added.The flood was said to be the worst to hit Manila in over forty years. The United States and China have are sending cash for relief efforts.
Photo by AP Mike Alquinto