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27 December 2011

Fresh flood warning for Philippines

Image: A man carries his belongings while crossing a river outside Manila. The Philippines could face fresh flooding before the end of the week

Manila - The Philippines on Monday warned flood survivors in the south of the country to brace for fresh floods, just days after Tropical Storm Washi whipped the region, leaving more than 2 000 dead or missing.

The government warned a weather disturbance that could develop into a tropical storm had dumped heavier than normal rainfall over the southern island of Mindanao.

“People living near the mountain slopes and in the low-lying areas of (these) river systems... are advised to take precautionary measures,” the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a late-night bulletin.

“Emphasis should be on proactive actions - evacuation rather than rescue. Let's untiringly aim for zero casualties.”

The council said the state weather service expects 206mm of rainfall to fall over eastern Mindanao in the nine hours to 5pm (09h00 GMT on Tuesday), with more expected after that.

Floods unleashed by Washi obliterated entire communities on Mindanao on December 17, many of them shanty towns built on sandbars which were swept out to sea as their poor migrant inhabitants slept.

For several hours straight, Washi poured rain on the Philippines. Rivers swelled up and water rushed over the banks pulling thick mud from mountains regions into the towns.

More than 60 000 people lost their homes, 1 236 people were killed and 1 000 others are reportedly missing, mainly in the Mindanao ports of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, according to the council.

- Sapa-AFP