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Wednesday, August 4, 1999 Published at 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Storms wreak havoc in Asia

Survivors in Manila are threatening to sue the building developers

Typhoons and monsoon rains continue to wreak havoc across east Asia, causing devastating floods and mudslides from Thailand to North Korea.

The BBC's Jon Leyne: "Despite the devastations, survivors continue to be pulled from the wreckage"
In the Philippines capital, Manila, rescue workers battled to free residents who were buried under rocks after a housing development was swept away by a wall of mud.

Disaster relief authorities say at least 60 people have died. A further 30 casualties have been discovered at Antipolo, east of Manila.

The BBC's John McLean in Manila says hopes remain of finding people alive after voices were heard coming from the ruins, but there are also fears that many more bodies will be found.

[ image:  ]
A state of emergency has been declared in the capital, which is home to 10 million people.

Floodwaters have also breached several key reservoirs, endangering hundreds of squatter families living along the banks of waterways.

President Estrada promised an investigation into the collapse of the buildings while a group of survivors threatened to sue developers, accusing them of sloppy construction.

Heavy rains have caused chaos elsewhere in the region, with widespread flooding along China's Yangtze river blamed for leaving 400 dead and 1.8 million people homeless.

The International Red Cross has launched a worldwide appeal for to help China, and says the appeal could be widened to help other Asian countries being battered by floods.

Thousands homeless

Typhoon Olga ripped across the Korean peninsula on Tuesday causing torrential rains and a trail of destruction in its wake.

In Seoul, South Korea, officials said the number of dead and missing had risen to 63.

At least 35 people were reported dead and a further 28 missing following four days of flooding which forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in the north of the country.

Seoul mobilised a third of the national military to salvage homes, farmlands and roads.

[ image: Prisoners in Chanthaburi were among 30,000 people forced to leave their residences]
Prisoners in Chanthaburi were among 30,000 people forced to leave their residences
More than 24,000 people have been left homeless after five days of continuous rain.

Flooding and landslides destroyed nearly 9,500 houses as well as over 39,000 hectares of farmland.

Lee Eui-sop, 44, a farmer in Paju near the border with North Korea, said: "Half of my home is gone. I can't find my pigs. I don't know where to begin."

President Kim Dae-jung visited a flood-stricken town north of Seoul, promising $1bn to help rebuild dykes and homes. He also ordered tax breaks and low-interest loans for flood victims.

In nearby Paju, dozens of angry residents shouted and hurled mud at government officials, accusing them of failing to prevent recurring floods. Their town was submerged in floods in 1996 and last year.

Weather conditions were reported to have eased over most of the country on Wednesday, but forecasters warn that another storm system is building behing Olga in the Pacific and could hit Japan at the weekend.

Neighbouring North Korea also reported that rains and mudslides have killed many people and destroyed many houses and buildings.

In Thailand's eastern coastal province of Chantaburi, the worst flooding ever has left six dead, one missing and forced the evacutaion of some 32,000 people.

Thailand's Meteorological Department said it was watching the weather develop in the rice-growing north-east, which was likely to be inundated as the Mekong river continued to swell.

Key crops are so far largely unaffected by isolated flooding, Thailand's agriculture officials said on Wednesday.

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04 Aug 99 | Asia-Pacific
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Internet Links

Philippines: Department of Environment

South Korea: Office of the president

South Korea: Ministry of National Defense

Thailand: Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment

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