Philippine floods kill 40 and affect one million people

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Seven more deaths in heavy flooding in the Philippines have brought the toll from a fortnight of heavy rains to 40.

Disaster officials said that more than one million people have been affected by heavy monsoon rains across the country.

The latest deaths occurred when flash floods hit Samar Island on Tuesday.

The government has estimated the cost of the damage at more than $20m (£12.8m); new heavy downpours are due over Bicol and the Eastern Visayas.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said many more people were missing after being swept away by floods or buried by landslides.

Their latest bulletin said that soldiers and government personnel were evacuating more people in Samar and nearby Leyte island.

Two six-year-old children, and one nine-year-old were among the victims of the Samar flash floods.

Floods overflowed bridges, damaged hundreds of homes, wrecked communication lines and blocked highways.

The disaster council bulletin said that the rains - which became heavy at the start of the year - have affected 1.29 million people across 144 towns.

It said a total of 338,000 people had fled their homes or are receiving government food aid since then; many have since gone home.

About 25,000 people are currently in evacuation centres, officials said, mostly in the Albay province of the central Bicol region.

The affected regions run from Southern Luzon, Bicol, Central and Eastern Visayas and Caraga to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the south.

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