Storms hit Philippines before 'Meari' moves out

10:52, June 25, 2011      

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Downpours led by tropical storm " Meari" continued hitting most parts of Luzon region in north Philippines on Friday, resulting 12 missing, flooding in Metro Manila and forced evacuation of thousands of people before "Meari" moves out of the country.

The National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council ( NDRRMC) said in a report that tropical storm "Meari" has maintained its strength as it continues to move northwestward.

Residents in low lying and mountainous areas under storm signal No. 1 are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides.

At least 12 people, including 10 fishermen, a woman and a three- year-old girl, were reported missing in southern Luzon region on Thursday night. Rescuers kept searching them on Friday.

The rainfall in metro Manila reached 147.3 millimeters in the 24 hours up to Friday morning. Fourteen times the daily average recorded every June, said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (Pagasa).

The government of Marikina city, part of the capital region, implemented forced evacuation of 7,000 residents Friday afternoon, when the water level of Marikina River surpassed 17 meters. The Marikina government hoisted Alert Level 3, the highest, as the river' water surged to 17.1 meters, considered "critical" by 05:40 p.m. local time on Friday. Local residents moved to five evacuation centers.

Nine villages in Quezon City of Metro Manila were flooded due to continuous rains over the past three days, the Quezon City Public Order and Safety Division said.

Power outages hit parts of Cubao, Kamuning, North Port area and San Juan cities in Metro Manila on Friday due to power lines damaged by heavy rains and strong winds.

A tornado hit a village in Barotac Nuevo town of Iloilo province in central Philippines at around 11:30 a.m. local time. At least 46 houses were damaged. However, police said, "there was no reported casualty."

Due to severe rains, classes of schools at all levels in the affected regions were suspended Friday. Work in government offices in Metro Manila was also suspended "except those involved in essential health and emergency duties and delivery of basic services."

The NDRRMC has reported that around 32,118 families or about 166,708 individuals have been affected by flooding in 132 villages of 17 municipalities and 10 cities in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Zambales, Rizal, Albay and cities of Makati, Malabon, Manila Marikina, Quezon City, Taguig and Valenzuela in Regions north and central Philippines.

A total of 30 international flights and 26 domestic flights have been canceled due to heavy rains and winds.

Tropical Storm "Meari" is expected to exit the Philippines Saturday morning if it maintains its current northwest track toward southern Japan, the weather bureau said on Friday.

However, another low pressure area was brewing over the Pacific Ocean and might merge with "Meari" on its way out.

Source: Xinhua
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