Philippine floods persist, death toll rises to 23
MANILA (AFP) - Rescuers deployed rubber boats while doctors fanned across cramped evacuation centres in the Philippines as the death toll from five days of flooding reached 23 on Thursday, officials said.
Large farming towns north of the capital Manila as well as heavily populated coastal areas remained under waist deep floods, with television footage showing residents wading in muddy waters as they tried to seek safer shelters.
Health officials meanwhile raised the alarm over a possible outbreak of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread by infected rat urine in flood waters, saying this could lead to a further spike in the death toll.
"We are appealing for help from the national government. Our town hall itself is submerged in waist deep water," said mayor Orencio Gabriel of Obando town on government radio as intermittent rains continued to pound many areas.