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7 dead as flooding in Philippines brings Manila to a standstill

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
August 20, 2013 -- Updated 1421 GMT (2221 HKT)
Filipinos displaced by flooding reach for relief goods in Las Pinas on Wednesday, August 21. Tens of thousands of Filipinos have been forced from their homes and at least seven have died due to heavy rains and flooding. Filipinos displaced by flooding reach for relief goods in Las Pinas on Wednesday, August 21. Tens of thousands of Filipinos have been forced from their homes and at least seven have died due to heavy rains and flooding.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The national weather agency issues a red alert for the Manila area
  • Seven people have died and tens of thousands have fled their homes
  • The flooding has closed schools, government offices and financial markets
  • 70% of central Manila is under water, the national news agency reports

Are you affected by the flooding? Send us your images and video but please stay safe.

(CNN) -- Ferocious rain has caused heavy flooding in the Philippine capital and the surrounding region, killing at least seven people, driving tens of thousands of others from their homes and bringing life in many areas to a standstill.

The national weather agency, Pagasa, issued a red alert for the Manila metropolitan area and nearby provinces on Tuesday morning, warning that "severe flooding is expected."

The torrential monsoon rains, intensified by a tropical storm out over the ocean, had already caused significant disruption on Monday, forcing the closure of financial markets and government offices not involved in the emergency response.

Those measures continued Tuesday as photos and videos showed flood waters reaching waist or chest deep on some roads in the Manila region.

iReport: Flooding clogs streets of Manila

The water at several dams in the region is reaching a critical level, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a statement.

The disaster council reported that seven people had so far died as a result of the rain and floods, most of them by drowning. The deaths occurred across various provinces on the main Philippine island of Luzon.

More than 130,000 people have had to leave their homes and seek shelter with friends and relatives or in evacuation centers, the council said.

The floods also prompted airlines to cancel flights and authorities to suspend school classes.

Seventy percent of central Manila was flooded on Tuesday morning, the official Philippines News Agency reported, citing Johny Yu, officer in charge of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The pouring rain and rising water are grimly familiar to the Manila metropolitan region's 12 million residents, as August is generally the area's wettest month.

Severe flooding in the region a year ago, also caused by monsoon rains, killed scores of people.

Oil spill from sunken ferry in Philippines hurts coastline, fishermen

Death toll rises in ferry disaster

CNN's Kathy Quiano contributed to this report.

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