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Death Toll Mounts To 53 As Philippines Reels Under Floods

Torrential rains from a typhoon and seasonal monsoon have left at least 53 people dead in Philippines as President Benigno Aquino called for the public's co-operation telling them that the government does not have "infinite capabilities" to deal with natural disasters.

Typhoon Soala struck the country over a week ago, bringing torrential rains that caused widespread flooding and landslides, media reports said on Wednesday.

Heavy rains continue to pound parts of the country including capital Manila and weather officials say that the city has had more than 30 millimeters of rain per hour since Monday evening. At least 16 people have died in Manila alone and the flooding, neck-deep in some areas, forced closure of offices and schools.

The Marikina River in the north-eastern part of the city has swelled, submerging houses and stores in the suburbs. Disaster management authorities say about 270,000 people are taking shelter at schools, gyms and other facilities. Soldiers and rescuers are using rubber boats to reach people stranded in their homes, but some are refusing to leave amid fears of looting.

In the worst reported incident of casualties, nine members of one family died after a landslide hit shanty houses in Manila's Quezon City. Others died from drowning and electrocution. A state of calamity has been issued in at least four areas, officials said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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