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Major floods in Manila as typhoon batters Philippines; 7 dead so far

Seven dead and some 180,000 homeless as streets turn into rivers, leaving many stranded on rooftops

MANILA : The third typhoon to hit the storm-battered Philippines in as many weeks caused major flooding in Manila yesterday, trapping people on rooftops.

Typhoon Vamco packed winds of up to 155kmh as it swept across the country's largest island of Luzon after making landfall overnight. Seven people have been killed so far.

The authorities warned of landslides and potentially deadly storm surges along the coast. Heavy rain effectively shut down Manila, the sprawling capital of 12 million people, and surrounding areas, turning streets into rivers.

"A lot of places are submerged. Many people are crying for help," said Mr Rouel Santos, 53, a retired disaster officer.

The Philippine Red Cross, police, military and other rescuers used boats to reach people stranded in their homes in Marikina City, one of the hardest-hit areas where the water in some streets was at shoulder height.

Residents who were able to escape on foot carried pet dogs, television sets and other belongings as they waded through the murky, debris-strewn water.

Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said: "We have so many people who until now are stranded on their rooftops or trapped on the second floor of their houses."

Requests for help were piling up, said Mr Casiano Monilla, Civil Defence deputy administrator for operations. He said many people had not heeded warnings to evacuate.

"I didn't expect it to be like this," said Ms Rosalinda Opsima, who fled her home with her husband after the fast-rising water caught them by surprise.

Around 180,000 people are in evacuation centres, the Civil Defence said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday ordered government agencies to hasten relief efforts. The typhoon is the eighth to hit the Philippines in the past two months and the 21st of the year. - AFP, REUTERS

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