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Five dead as tropical storm Ketsana slams Philippines
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10:04, September 27, 2009

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Five people were killed and nearly 2,000 others were evacuated as tropical storm Ketsana slammed into the Philippines on Saturday, bringing massive rainfall that flooded the national capital and nearby provinces, government agencies reported.

The government placed Metro Manila and about two dozen provinces in Luzon region under state of calamity as heavy rains submerged roads and flooded homes.

A late night bulletin of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said all the fatalities were recorded in Metro Manila but the details were not disclosed.

It said the scale of the population being affected remains undetermined but at least 1,813 people were evacuated from their homes.

Meanwhile, the state weather bureau said the storm triggered an epic rainfall in Metro Manila in six hours ended 2 p.m. Saturday, breaking the 1967-record of 334 millimeters in a 24-hour period.

People live in squatter areas climb to their rooftops with valuables while kids swim in the rising floodwaters.

In street with waist-deep floods, enterprising local residents used wooden board and plastic as makeshift "boats" to ferry commuters.

Outside Manila, most parts of the central Luzon also experienced severe flooding. In Metro Manila, around 33 villages have been flooded and 37 road sections are closed to traffic, the NDCC said.

A dozen of domestic and international flights were canceled and more than 1,800 passengers were stranded in ports.

Floods and power blackouts also forced organizers to postpone the opening matches of the 15th Asian Senior Men's Volleyball Championship, scheduled to be held in the Philippine capital on Saturday.

Ketsana, locally known as Ondoy, made the landfall at northeastern Philippine coast at Saturday noon. It packed winds up to 85 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and is moving west-northwest at a speed of 13 kph.

The storm is forecast to cross the Philippine archipelago and enter the South China Sea on Sunday.

Source: Xinhua

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