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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 06:33 GMT 07:33 UK
Philippines storms kill 14
Residents cross a flooded Manila street
This year's flooding is worse than usual
At least 14 people have been killed and more than 3,000 driven from their homes as unusually heavy monsoon rains brought severe flooding to the Philippines.

The capital, Manila, has been particularly badly affected with as much rain falling in the last few days as usually comes down in a month.

The monsoon has been worsened by tropical depressions elsewhere in the western Pacific.

Much of Manila is flooded nearly every year because developers have built over many storm drains, while squatters in shanty towns throw huge amounts of rubbish into them.

Some people were returning to their homes on Monday, although weather officials forecast more rain in coming days.

Boat capsized

Among those killed were three South Korean tourists whose motorized outrigger capsized in stormy seas in Batangas province, while they were travelling to an island resort in the central Philippines.

Cars in flood water in Manila
The Philippines rainy season begins in July
The victims, all female, included a four-year-old girl.

Three other people, including two South Koreans from the same party, are missing.

Landslides, drownings and a road accident caused the 11 other recorded deaths.

The Koreans were from a Christian missionary organisation.

A coast guard official said that the boat was travelling without permission, after small boats had been banned due to heavy seas.

The crew of the boat disappeared after the accident and are being sought ashore. They may face criminal charges.

A family of four was buried by a landslide in Batangas, after rains loosened the terrain.

In the northern city of Olongapo, a group of boys was injured when a rubbish heap on which they were scavenging collapsed.

The waters in some parts of Manila were chest-deep, with many streets not passable for small vehicles. Other roads were closed completely.

Our correspondent in Manila, John McLean, says human negligence is as much to blame as the weather.

This year, President Gloria Arroyo has responded by transferring responsibility for flood prevention in Manila from the central government to the local government.

Even so, an effective flood control programme is expected to take at least four years to complete.

See also:

05 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
07 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
18 Sep 00 | Science/Nature
27 Jul 01 | Country profiles
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