Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Philippines: Officials Unable to Cope with Flood Victims

Tuesday the toll from floods in the northern Philippines rose to at least 284 dead or missing.

The storm, which struck Manila and surrounding provinces on Saturday, gathered strength across the South China Sea, and claimed at least 23 lives as it made landfall Tuesday in central Vietnam, where 170,000 were evacuated from its path. It was weakening as it headed west into Laos.

Two new storms were brewing in the Pacific and threatened to complicate relief efforts in the Philippines, officials said.

The homes of nearly 1.9 million people in Manila and surrounding areas were inundated in the weekend flooding, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said. Nearly 380,000 people have sought shelter in schools, churches and other evacuation centers, The Associated Press reports.

It was also reported, hundreds of thousands of exhausted Philippine flood survivors crammed into schools, gymnasiums, churches and other makeshift shelters on Tuesday as the death toll from the weekend disaster soared to 246.

Three days after a once-in-a-generation storm pounded Manila and surrounding regions, officials said they were unable to cope with the enormous number of flood victims who were continuing to pour into the evacuation centres.

"More people are coming in by the hour... We don't know how long we will be able to sustain this," said Joe Ferrer, a local government official in charge of a shelter on a basketball court on the outskirts of the Manila area.

"We need clothing, food supplies, food rations and medicine," AFP reports.

In the meantime, the defence secretary, Gilberto Teodoro, pleaded for help on national television. One of the storms could hit the northern Philippines this week and the other early next week.

"We are appealing for international humanitarian assistance," said the minister, who is chair of the National Disaster Co-ordinating Council.

He said there was an urgent need for international rescue teams, food, water and medicine. Teodoro said: "We are trying our level best to provide basic necessities, but the potential for a more serious situation is there. We cannot wait for that to happen," reports.