Torrential rains kill at least 20 people in the Philippines

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A resident wades through chest-deep floodwaters along a street while his neighbours (L) paddle an improvised life raft in Manila on September 23, 2013, after torrential rains pounded Luzon island worsened by Typhoon Usagi. Monsoon rains worsened by Typhoon Usagi pounded the Philippines for the third day on September 23, causing floods and landslides that left six people dead and others stranded on rooftops, officials said.

Credit:

TED ALJIBE

Torrential monsoon rains in the northwestern Philippines killed at least 20 people in the province of Zambales on Monday.

The rains were enhanced by Typhoon Usagi, which swept over the northern Philippines and moved on during the weekend.

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Residents of Zambales "were surprised by the rain. It happened before dawn so they might have been asleep at the time," assistant civil defense director Nigel Lontoc told Agence France-Presse. "This is a mountainous area and there are many houses on the slopes.”

The mayor of the town of Subic, Jeffrey Khonghun, said 15 bodies were dug out of the mud following two landslides caused by the heavy rains.

Khonghun said four rivers that pass through Subic had overflowed, causing floods. Many residents evacuated but others were trapped on their rooftops.

Army officials and police reported that another five people died in landslides in two other towns in Zambales. Philippine officials also said villagers were searching for at least seven people missing from towns hit by the landslides.