Monsoon rains kill 8 people in the Philippines

Filipinos cross a swelling river in Las Pinas city, south of Manila, Philippines, on July 9, 2015.
Filipinos cross a swelling river in Las Pinas city, south of Manila, Philippines, on July 9, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

MANILA (Reuters) - Torrential monsoon rains killed at least eight people in the Philippines, the country's disaster relief agency said on Monday, and the toll was expected to rise as two tropical storms battered northern Luzon, the main island in the archipelago.

The deluge over the past week forced the closure of government offices and schools in Manila, and caused widespread flooding on major roads and landslides outside the capital.

About 40,000 people across Luzon were affected by the monsoon rain and nearly 4,000 were in temporary shelters due to floods and landslides.

Four fishermen were missing after strong winds and giant waves destroyed their fishing boats and six smaller boats in Bolinao town on the north coast. "Nine other fishermen were rescued by a passing ship," Mr Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

Mr Pama said six people drowned and two were crushed to death as flash floods swept them in swollen river, and rampaging waters caused walls to collapse.

A South Korean diver died and two others were hospitalised after they were swept by strong currents off Mactan Island in the central Philippines and were found hundreds of miles away near Camotes Island.

He said the agriculture ministry estimated initial losses in rice and corn crops at about 4 million pesos (S$88,860). Assessments on the damage to infrastructure damage, particularly on roads and bridges, were still being made.

An average of 20 typhoons pass through the Philippines every year. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, the biggest-ever storm to make landfall, hit the central Philippines, killing more than 6,300 people and leaving 14 million people homeless.