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Tens of thousands evacuate Manila as Philippines floods devastate capital

August 7 2012 - Heavy monsoon rains in Metro Manila have already caused widespread landslides and treacherous flash floods, with thousands of local residents forced to flee their homes, and further torrential downpours predicted for tomorrow.

So far, an estimated 16 people have been killed, and more than 129,000 have been evacuated.

Tropical storm ‘Haikui’ has resulted in the worst flooding  since the Ketsana disaster of 2009, when 400 people were killed and millions made homeless.

Christian Aid emergency relief responses include the provision of basic food, shelter and medicines.

‘Every now and then the sky grows very dark and eerie and the streets become very quiet’,  reports Emma Wigley, Christian Aid’s press officer in Manila.

‘Despite the cities evacuation centres people remain in their homes because they fear looting during floods.  Many of these communities are also worried that they will be unable to return to their homes because the government may not allow them back onto the land if it is deemed uninhabitable.  The simple truth is they have nowhere else to go, and no real options or way to survive, unless they risk living in such vulnerable locations.

‘Many buildings and houses are completely submerged, including the thousands of makeshift homes that balance precariously along the river beds, which house up to two million in informal settlements.

‘Many of the city’s poor who cannot afford to buy a home or pay rent are forced to live in high risk areas, vulnerable to flooding during the monsoon season, and they have no choice but to ‘squat’ in an area where they can afford to support their family,’ she adds.

Other issues which are exacerbating the problem include deforestation and illegal logging in the mountains, all of which can lead to landslides. The knock on effect of this is that more water flows downstream to Metro Manila, which is essentially a concrete jungle sprawled about and on top of a flood plain

Christian Aid is now providing equipment such as rescue boats and life jackets, and has already trained local communities in vital evacuation and rescue procedures.

 

Donate: we have already provided £50,000 for immediate response to flooding in the Philippines, please help us to respond to this and future emergencies.

More information

Photographes available: http://www.flickr.com/photos/christianaidimages/sets/72157630955800034/

Podcast by Adrian Ouvry, Humanitarian Programmes Unit Manager: http://audioboo.fm/boos/912184  
Podcast by Emma Wigley, Press officer: http://audioboo.fm/boos/912145

If you would like further information, to arrange an interview, or for photos, please contact Johanna Rogers on 0207 523 2460, jrogers@christian-aid.org or Melanie Smith on 0207 523 2416, msmith@christian-aid.org.  24 hour press duty phone – 07590 710 942

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk

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