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Philippine flood deaths climb to 66

Manila -

Philippine authorities rushed to bring food and other emergency provisions Saturday to more than two million people affected by widespread flooding, as the death toll rose to 66, an official said.

The flooding that submerged 80 percent of Manila early in the week has largely subsided, allowing people to return to their homes, but low-lying farming regions to the north remained under water.

Civil defence chief Benito Ramos told AFP the huge displaced population, including 441,000 people crammed in crowded evacuation camps, would need to be fed and taken care of for at least another seven days.

“The government has a month's worth of relief goods if necessary. We have substantial emergency supplies,” Ramos said.

Volunteers are helping the government pack rice and other food items into 100,000 grocery bags to replenish supplies at some of the camps, he said.

Nearly two weeks of monsoon rains across the Philippines' main island of Luzon peaked with a 48-hour deluge earlier this week that battered Manila and surrounding regions.

The government's disaster co-ordination council said Saturday that 66 people had been confirmed killed, up from 60 on Friday.

It put the number of people affected by the floods at 2.68 million, from 2.44 million on Friday.

The Philippines endures about 20 major storms or typhoons each rainy season. But this week's rains were the worst to hit Manila since Tropical Storm Ketsana killed 464 people in 2009. - Sapa-AFP

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