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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
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.
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.
CNN’s Kathy Quiano contributed to this report.