Rescuers pulled more bodies from swollen rivers and debris-strewn streets today, pushing the toll from flooding in the northern Philippines to more than 284 dead or missing, while two new storms brewing in the Pacific threatened to complicate relief efforts.
Authorities ordered extra police to be deployed to prevent looting in communities abandoned by fleeing residents, as frustration rose among those who have lost their homes or belongings.
Queues of bedraggled victims grew long at hundreds of aid distribution centers as floodwaters subsided further and more people went in search of food, clean water, dry clothes and shelter.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's administration--sensitive to criticism it did not give sufficient warning of the deluge or was too slow to respond -- conceded it was overwhelmed but said it was doing all it could to help.
The homes of nearly 1.9 million people in the capital and surrounding areas were inundated by flooding unleashed by Tropical Storm Ketsana at the weekend, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said. Nearly 380,000 people have sought shelter in schools, churches and other evacuation centers.
The council said 246 were confirmed dead late today, with 38 missing.