After the Flood

Manila Death Toll Climbs to 240

As the worst floods to hit the Philippines in over 40 years continue to take their toll, officials in Manila estimate some 240 dead, $30 million in damages, and sweeping concerns about typhoid, disease, sanitation, and hidden costs—like the one-third of the Filipino population who work “off the books” and risk falling into financial peril the longer the nation remains in flux. At the peak of Typhoon Ketsana, 80 percent of capital city Manila was underwater, with waves of water crashing over the roofs of cars and filling the ground floors of buildings. The Wall Street Journal reports that rescue delays in Manila have prompted criticism of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whose anointed successor in next year’s election—Gilbert Teodoro—is current secretary of defense, and has also fallen under criticism for the disaster response. Some 8,000 people were rescued and 69,000 evacuated to emergency centers in Manila; the Philippines is home to 90 million, with one-third of the population living on less than $2 a day.