Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Monday, 28 September 2009 14:43 UK

Devastation in Manila flood zone

By Alastair Leithead
BBC News, Marikina City, Manila

Survivors in Marikina City (28 September 2009)
In Manila, there is a thick coating of mud over everything the flood submerged

A thick layer of mud covers everything in Provident Village, Marikina City, one of the areas in the Philippine capital worst hit by the flooding.

The Marikina River broke its banks here and within minutes the streets became rivers, washing away everything in their path, destroying homes and businesses.

The water has receded but it has left behind cars turned upside down or tumbled one on top of another. Other vehicles have been picked up and flung into trees and buildings.

Debris from the flood is trapped in the overhead cables, showing how deep the water was at the height of the storm.

A bridge now high above the river which backs onto the main St Mary's Street, was clearly under water - its barrier is bent out of shape and the concrete has been damaged by the force of the water.

Focus on food

Despite the rain showers, which are still heavy if intermittent, hundreds of people are coming and going, trudging through the mud in flip flops or bare feet, collecting whatever they can from their shops and homes.

All you can do is to pray and ask God for help
Peggy Lotho

Almost 500,000 people fled as the worst of the storm hit on Saturday morning, but Defence Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said they were now dealing with 60,000 displaced people.

"Relief efforts are going on at this time. We are trying to push basic needs out to the people as efficiently as we can," he said.

"The search and rescue effort in general is over, but we can't help to respond to calls - water levels rose again this afternoon, but the focus is on food, water, clothing and medicine."

Brand new rubber boats were being unwrapped and loaded onto military trucks at the bustling National Disaster Management Centre, but two helicopters remained on the ground for the time being, although they have been used to deliver aid.

'Scary storm'

A huge amount of water was dropped on Manila in just a few hours and it was the speed of the flood which took most people by surprise.

Residents scramble to receive relief good in Marikina City. Photo: 28 September 2009
Many residents are angered by the slow pace of rescue and relief efforts

The local name for the typhoon was Ondoy (the international name was Ketsana). This is the season for tropical storms, and people here are used to them, but the intensity of the rainfall caught them unaware.

We spoke to Peggy Lotho, a 40-year-old mother of two who ran a women's clothes shop on St Mary's Street.

She was hosing down the mud and trying to salvage what she could. She said she had lost everything in the shop.

"When the storm hit it was scary - we could hear people shouting for help but couldn't get to them.

"All you can do is to pray and ask God for help. All these shops are retail, and we were not able to save anything. The things that we do have left are a mess," she said.

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