30 Sep 2009

Philippine flood death toll rising

6:00 am on 30 September 2009

The Philippines is appealing for foreign aid to help it recover from devastating floods that hit the capital Manila at the weekend

At least 240 people have died in the worst flooding in 40 years, but the number is expected to rise as rescue efforts continue.

The floods were triggered by Typhoon Ketsana, which dumped a month's rain on Manila and surrounding provinces at the weekend. At one point, more than 80% of the capital was under water.

With roads and bridges swept away there are still huge difficulties in getting help to people stranded in the worst-hit areas.

Nearly 400,000 people are in emergency shelters and more than 120,000 others remain trapped in their houses on Tuesday.

Minnie Portales, of World Vision, told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme the government does not have enough boats or helicopters to reach people stranded in the flooded villages and residents are devastated.

President Gloria Arroyo is opening the grounds of her palace in Manila for use as an evacuation centre and distribution hub for emergency supplies.

Weather forecasters are predicting more heavy rain later this week.