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10/27/2009

Misery for 1.5 million a month after Philippine storms


MANILA (AFP) – More than 1.5 million people are struggling to live in flooded suburbs or crowded shelters one month after devastating rains began pounding the Philippines, and officials warn no quick fix is in sight.
The impoverished Southeast Asian nation faces a huge long-term battle to recover from the two storms that claimed at least 929 lives in Manila and other parts of the main Luzon island, the government and relief organisations said. Image: Residents of Makati in rain brought by Typhoon Ondoy (Photo by Dennison Uy)

"The storms and torrential rains... have left the people of the Philippines facing one of the greatest challenges in memory," the UN's World Food Programme director, Josette Sheeran, said during a weekend visit to Manila.

After tropical storm Ketsana dumped the heaviest rains in more than 40 years on Manila on September 26, entire districts remain waist-deep in water and piles of flood debris still litter other parts of the capital.

In mountainous areas of northern Luzon that were pummelled by 10 days of torrential rain from tropical storm Parma which arrived a week later, villages remain ghost towns after being hit by landslides.
The World Health Organisation says 1.43 million people, mostly in and around Manila, continue to endure a dangerous existence living in flooded districts.
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