Heavy rains, floods batter Philippines

Residents wade through a flooded street in Binakayan township, Cavite province, south of Manila, Philippines Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. Photo: AP
Heavy monsoon rains are pounding the Philippine capital Manila and surrounding areas for a second straight day, flooding streets and shutting down financial markets and government offices.
Philippine officials Tuesday said at least 60 percent of Manila was flooded because of the seasonal rains, which are being worsened by Tropical Storm Trami. 
Waist-deep water made many roads impassable and sent residents fleeing to higher ground. Officials say seven people have been killed and four others are missing. Thousands have filled government evacuation centers. 
Schools, offices, the stock exchange, courts and embassies were closed as the weather bureau placed metropolitan Manila – a sprawling area of 12 million people – under red alert. 
The red alert means "serious flooding" is likely in low-lying areas, and more than three centimetres of rain is expected every hour.
All government workers except those involved in disaster response have been told to stay home. The Philippine Stock Exchange is also closed for a second day.
Forecasters say the rain, which has fallen at a rate of up to three centimeters per hour, will continue for most of Tuesday, before heading toward Taiwan.
The archipelago, particularly the low-lying capital, is extremely flood-prone. It is hit by about 20 major storms each year.
Source: Agencies
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