Philippine floods kill two and displace thousands

Image caption,
Thousands of people are on the move across Albay province, on the eastern coast of the Philippines

Heavy rains and flooding in the Philippines have killed two people and displaced many thousands more.

The eastern province of Albay has been designated a state of calamity as thousands of people have moved to evacuation centres.

Landslides and floods have blocked roads and destroyed power lines.

The Philippines often takes the brunt of Pacific weather systems and poor infrastructure worsens its impact on the densely populated countryside.

An 80-year old woman, Lolita Dapdap, and her 50-year old son, Antonio, died after they tried to cross a flooded area in Manito township, east of Legazpi City in Albay province, on Wednesday.

"We evacuated them early in the morning but apparently the old woman and her son returned home to get some personal belongings.

"Before twilight, they were returning to the evacuation centre and got stuck on the spillway," said Albay province Governor Joey Salceda.

Villagers on the slopes of the live volcano, Mount Mayon, have also been moved because of flooding.

More rain

Mr Salceda said that heavy rain continued to fall on Albay and other parts of Bicol region for the sixth straight day.

This increased the danger of landslides and floods and forced more people to be moved out of their homes, he said.

The risk of flash floods was high, and rescue officials were racing to get people out of the way in time.

Evacuations began on 24 December but have accelerated as flood waters have risen.

Image caption,
Almost a week of heavy rains have flooded towns in the east of the Philippines

The governor said new year parties were being organised for the evacuees to try to keep them in the evacuation centres.

The problem was that people often wanted to go home to protect their belongings, he said.

The Associated Press said the number of people displaced had reached 33,000.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said more rain was expected due to the prevailing northeast monsoon.

Domestic flights between the Philippine capital, Manila, and Legazpi City, have been affected.

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