Millions left homeless as floods sweep across Asia

HUNDREDS OF people have been drowned and millions more made homeless by storms and floods that have swept across East Asia.

In China, the International Federation of the Red Cross said yesterday it will launch an appeal to help some 66 million people whose homes and livelihoods have been threatened by the breaching of the Yangtze River. In the Philippines capital, Manila, rescuers were picking through the remains of a housing estate where dozens of people still lie buried under a muddy landslide.

Authorities in North and South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam were clearing up the wreckage of the past few days, while preparing for further storms. "The fear is that due to the length of the flood season, we haven't seen the worst of it yet," said Jim Robertson, a Red Cross official in the Chinese capital, Peking.

So far the floods have not matched the destruction caused last year, when 4,100 people died in China alone. But the breadth of the area affected has raised speculation about the origins of the rains, which appear to be connected to the El Nino weather phenomenon that caused widespread drought in the region two years ago.

Yesterday, the most wretched scenes were to be found near Manila, where more than 50 houses, constructed on a hillside east of the city, were hit by a landslide and "collapsed like an accordion", in the words of the Defence Secretary, Orlando Mercado. The landslide in Manila's eastern district of Antipolo tore down part of a hillside housing estate, burying dozens of people and raising to at least 44 the death toll in the country's worst floods in years, officials said.

At least nine bodies were recovered and 31 people were rescued alive by emergency crews picking through the mud and broken masonry. Up to 50 people were still missing. Already, accusations of shoddy construction were being levelled at the site's Japanese developer.

"We must focus on the search and rescue," Mr Mercado said after inspecting the disaster area. "Later there will be time to look into why these things are happening." The Philippines has not had weather like this for 25 years.

President Joseph Estrada declared a state of emergency in four provinces on Tuesday after the La Mesa dam, which supplies Manila with its drinking water, overflowed.

Apart from floods and landslides, five people were electrocuted after severed power cables fell into flood waters. More than 80,000 people have been forced out of their homes, and 50,000 are sheltering in official evacuation centres.

In China, 1.8 million people are officially reported to have been driven out of their homes, and many more have seen their fields inundated and their livestock drowned after days of torrential rains in the central and eastern provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu and Anhui. Consolidation work along the banks of big rivers, carried out after last summer's devastating floods, appears to have reduced the scale of the calamity, which has not so far affected China's second great waterway, the Yellow River.

Tropical Storm Olga was passing into Chinese territory last night after crossing South and North Korea, where the skies appeared to be clearing after four days of inundation.

In South Korea, 63 people were dead or missing and 90,000 acres of farmland were under water, although the situation was less clear in North Korea, where the Stalinist government is often reluctant to admit to a disaster.

The country's official news agency, KCNA, said the storm had "adversely affected agriculture and other areas" and that there had been "no small loss of human lives".

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?