Days of flooding, landslides kill 186 in Philippines

Frightened San Manuel villagers flee after rumors spread that nearby San Roque dam is in danger of collapse.
Flooding and landslides from tropical depression Parma have killed 186 people in the Philippines, authorities said Saturday.

Another 93 people have been injured, according to Nalia Tabliago of the Philippines National Disaster Coordinating Council. Rescuers are searching for 40 people reported missing, Tabliago said. Tropical depression Parma, known locally as Pepeng, dumped as much as 36 inches of rain in some parts of the nation of islands last week, compounding misery in areas already flooded by an earlier storm, typhoon Ketsana On Friday, landslides blocked traffic along the Marchos Highway, Naguilian Road, Kennon Road and Ambuklao Road, cutting access to Baguio City, Benguet Province and Mountain Province, according to the Office of Civil Defense in Cordillera. Earlier reports from Rocky Baraan, provincial administrator of Pangasinan, said flooding had inundated 32 towns and two cities, Dagupan and Urdaneta. Some 35,000 people had fled to evacuation centers, the official Philippines News Agency reported, citing the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council. The worst-hit areas included Bayambang, Alcala and Basista, the news agency reported.

People clambered onto rooftops as floodwaters rose, calling and texting for help. Rescue trucks were hampered by floodwaters that reach the roofs of single-story houses, Baraan said. About 16 rubber rescue boats had been deployed. Since the rains started in central Luzon, three dams in the Pangasinan area have been releasing vast amounts of water — up to 10 million cubic meters an hour at one dam, officials said.