Manila. Waves swept over seawalls and flooded shanty towns in the Philippine capital on Wednesday as the death toll from four days of storms that have battered large swathes of the country rose to 14.
More than 150,000 people across the Philippines have been forced to flee their homes this week as Typhoon Saolo, hovering to the north of the country, has added to monsoon weather, the national disaster management council said.
The death toll rose to 14 after four died in a landslide in the northern mountains late on Tuesday, then two drowned on Wednesday in a flooded marshland community about 1,100 kilometers to the south, the council said.
The capital of Manila and nearby areas that are home to more than 15 million people saw some of the worst flooding.
The district of Navotas, a tightly packed, fishing community of about 130,000 people along Manila Bay, was battered by huge waves, ravaging shanties built on the coast.
Navotas widow Gloria Alkaroke, 56, said she and her six children and grandchildren were forced to flee their wooden shack just as huge waves began to demolish it.
“I only saved a sack of my clothes but my cabinet, my cooking appliances, they were all washed out to sea. At least my children and grandchildren are okay. They were my first priority,” she told AFP.
Dockworker Renaldo Abad, 15, said he punched a hole through the ceiling of his house and then made his way over the rooftops to avoid chest-deep floodwaters.
“I was hit by the waves carrying garbage and junk. They drenched me but fortunately, I was not hurt,” Abad said at a school functioning as an evacuation centre.
Large military trucks helped people flee their homes in Navotas, while other residents used boats or improvised vessels made of scrap wood and styrofoam.
Navotas authorities said that while there were no deaths reported, about 20 people were injured and more than 2,000 forced to seek shelter at evacuation centres.
The scenic Roxas Boulevard, a major coastal road beside Manila’s historic bay and only a few kilometers from Navotas, was also flooded as storm surges smashed spectacularly over the seawall.
Traffic had to be rerouted and the US embassy, located on Roxas Boulevard, shut down for the day due to knee-deep flooding.
While Typhoon Saola is moving north away from the Philippines, it continues to affect the monsoon rains, which have been pouring on the country since Sunday, said civil defence chief Benito Ramos.
“We can expect more rains and the floods may get worse,” he said.