Manila (AFP) Oct 9, 2010
One person has drowned and thousands of people have been affected by floods that have swamped a rain-soaked island in the central Philippines, police said Saturday.
Floodwaters rose south of Naujan lake on Mindoro island after heavy rain began falling in the area before dawn Friday, national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz told reporters.
In addition to the drowned person, an undetermined number of farm animals was also lost in floodwaters that reached an average of three feet (0.91 metres), he added.
Some 8,148 families were affected in the towns of Socorro and Pinamalayan, and police are on standby to conduct rescues or evacuations where necessary.
He did not provide the total number of people living in the flooded areas.
earlier related report
The remote seaside town of Wasior in West Papua province was devastated after a torrent of mud, rocks and logs struck it on Monday following torrential downpours.
Hundreds of homes were swept away and scores of people remain missing feared dead, with rescue workers unable to clear huge piles of debris due to shortages of heavy equipment.
"We face difficulties removing dead bodies as our rescuers don't have enough excavators," local official Yappi Akwan said, adding that 80 people were listed as missing.
He said thousands of residents faced shortages of food, clean water, medicine and shelters, and there were growing fears of disease outbreaks.
"The town already smells of rotting bodies and we all have to wear masks," he said.
"We hope there'll be a quick response. We need the town to be sprayed with disinfectant to ward off disease."
Around 4,000 people, or almost a third of the population in Wasior's three worst affected neighbourhoods, have fled to neighbouring districts, the official said.
Wasior is 240 kilometres (150 miles) southeast of Manokwari, the capital of West Papua province, one of the poorest and least developed parts of the massive Indonesian archipelago.
The floods and landslides that hit the town on Monday came down from surrounding hills with a thunderous roar but many residents did not have time to escape.
Survivors said many of the victims drowned or were crushed by boulders and logs, which had been felled by timber workers in nearby forests.
Such events are expected to become more common in Indonesia due to a combination of climate change, land conversion and logging.
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