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At Least 83 Killed, Hundreds of Thousands Displaced by Philippine Storm

At least 83 people have been killed and at least 23 others are missing after torrential rains caused flash floods in the northern Philippines on Saturday. Most of the capital, Manila, and surrounding areas are still reporting high water.

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Rescue and relief operations continue in Manila and surrounding areas to help those affected by severe floods caused by heavy rains brought on by Tropical Storm Ketsana.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro says flood waters in some areas have subsided Sunday but he says the situation remains unsafe.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council says hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Television footage on Sunday showed people wading in the chest-high water with their belongings, trying to flee to higher ground.

The capital was thrown into chaos on Saturday after the storm dumped a month's worth of rain in 12 hours. Houses and cars were swept away by the surging waters.

In Marikina City, resident Ronald Manlangit recalled how quickly the devastation occurred:

He said the water rose every minute. He said he feared that if the water reached the second floor of his home, many people would die.

People climbed onto rooftops for safety and many spent the night there. Rescue hotlines were swamped with calls for help; thousands of homes and businesses lost power. Officials say nearly 2,000 people were forced from their homes into shelters in the Manila area. They add that hundreds of thousands more in surrounding provinces have been displaced

It was the worst flooding in Manila in more than 40 years.

The Philippines defense secretary promised that the government will do everything it can to help. But rescue and relief operations have been hampered by a lack of resources such as rescue helicopters and inflatable boats. President Gloria Arroyo visited the some affected areas on Sunday and asked people to remain calm.

Foreign assistance began to trickle in on Sunday, with China and the United States donating cash for immediate relief efforts.

The storm has left the Philippines and is on its way toward Vietnam, where meteorologists say it could cause more flooding.

Philippine authorities have ordered schools closed on Monday. Many offices, including the U.S. embassy in Manila, will also be closed.