A huge typhoon downed trees and flooded streets in Manila Tuesday, bringing traffic and commerce to a halt.
Schools and offices were closed and thousands of people were evacuated from river and seafront areas. At least seven people were killed.
Four of the deaths came when a house collapsed, and a Red Cross volunteer, Myrna Ugaya, said other homes were collapsing. "The waters have swelled. The homes here are falling apart. Since this morning, the rains have been strong. We've asked the residents to evacuate, because the waters from the shore are really swelling," she reports.
She said residents were being evacuated from threatened neighborhoods.
A downtown hospital had to remove patients from its bottom floor.
Witnesses reported massive waves in Manila Bay and waist-high water in the capital's historic old city.
"It's flooded everywhere. We don't have a place to go for shelter. Even my motorcycle got filled with water," Ray Gonzales said.
Typhoon Nesat came ashore before dawn on the eastern coast of Luzon island and moved across the island with sustained winds of up to 140 kilometers an hour.
Officials said the storm was twice as wide as a normal typhoon as it continued its course into the South China Sea.
President Benigno Aquino said during a visit to Japan that the Philippines gets more than 20 typhoons a year and that disaster authorities were well prepared.
"So I'm quite confident that as usual they are performing. Unfortunately, we had a lot of rain, at the same time that this is the portion of the day that tides are rather high and the rains got dumped at the high tide portion of the day," Aquino stated. "So there was a bit of storm surged on Roxas boulevard. But we understand that by this afternoon, power will be restored most of metro-Manila, hopefully the typhoon will move on."
Heavy damage was also reported in eastern Luzon, where many homes were hit by falling limbs or had their roofs torn off. Officials said a 20-month-old baby was reported dead after falling into a swollen river in the region, while four fishermen were missing.
Even before the storm hit, officials shut schools, canceled inter-island ferry service and ordered the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.