MANILA • Five people have been killed in the Philippines and tens of thousands have fled from floods caused by days of unrelenting rain, rescuers said yesterday.
Civil defence officials warned residents of Manila and nearby provinces to expect more heavy seasonal rain over the coming days as more than 24,000 people sought refuge in schools and government buildings.
"We are expecting more low-lying areas to experience flooding," National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman Romina Marasigan told Agence France-Presse.
"Those who are already in evacuation centres should stay there until the weather improves," she added.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development said at least 79 evacuation centres have been opened on the island of Luzon.
Those evacuated include nearly 9,000 Manila residents displaced by flooding from the Marikina River on Saturday.
Officials said three Manila slum residents were crushed to death on Saturday by walls that collapsed in the floods.
Elsewhere, a fisherman went missing at sea off the central island of Marinduque last Monday while a man drowned crossing a swift-flowing river on the central island of Panay on Wednesday.
On Friday, the authorities also retrieved a body from a Manila canal - the cause of death is under investigation.
In all, more than 70,000 people have had their houses swamped by floodwaters, the disaster management council said, though the majority of residents have remained at home.
The western section of the Philippines has been swamped by heavy rain over the past week, forcing the cancellation of some domestic commercial flights and the suspension of classes.
Some schools have suspended classes today because of moderate to severe flooding brought by monsoon rain.
Meanwhile, a rare tornado slammed into some parts of Manila yesterday afternoon, a radio report said.
The tornado apparently blew into the Quiapo and Sampaloc districts, where people said they saw debris and torn roofs sailing through the air.
No one was reported injured in the brief windstorm which the state weather bureau said might have been caused by a severe thunderstorm, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons a year, many of them deadly, with the strongest often happening towards the end of the year.
In November 2013, one of the strongest storms on record, Super Typhoon Haiyan, flattened entire communities in the central region with tsunami-like waves, leaving 7,350 people dead or missing.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK