Volunteers ferry commuters through floodwaters following rains brought about by tropical storm Henry yesterday in suburban Quezon city, Philippines. Image Credit: AP

Manila: Rains brought by the southwest monsoon enhanced by typhoon Henry on Tuesday left areas in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces underwater as government ordered work suspended for the day.

“In view of the continuing inclement weather brought about by typhoon ‘Henry’, work in all government offices and classes in public schools at all levels in Metro Manila are hereby suspended effective 1pm,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said.

Rains, intermitting in intensity from heavy to light, had left flood prone areas of the national capital region under several inches of water.

Henry hovered over the northern tip of the Philippines’s Ilocos Region from Monday but exited on the afternoon Tuesday.

In Marikina City, east of the capital region, authorities have flood prone areas vacated as waters in riverside areas continue to rise.

 Heavy rains have also prompted the Philippine National Railways to suspend trips along the Tutuban to Alabang railway line.

City Mayor Marcy Teodoro ordered the pre-emptive evacuation of residents near the Marikina river at 1:22pm.

Radio station dzBB said families in the villages of Malanday, Nangka, and Tumana have already been told to leave their homes.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said a number of highways in Manila and Quezon City, Valenzuela, Navotas, Malabon, Pasay, Pasig, Caloocan, Mandaluyong and Makati Cities were under several feet of water.

The MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said of the agencies its pumping stations are operating to lessen the flooding. However, he said the major challenge being faced by the agency, is the volume of wastes and trash clogging the drainages and waterways that worsen the flooding situation in Metro Manila.

“If you see the trash in the rivers, there are sofas, refrigerators and tires — all kinds of wasters are there. We collect truckloads of garbage every day. Instead of two hours there are no floods we take three hours to clean the waters,” he said.

Inter-Agency Council on Traffic spokesperson Aileen Lizada said the government had dispatched vehicles to ferry stranded commuters in various parts of Metro Manila.

So far, there had been no reports of casualties.

Heavy rains have also prompted official of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) to suspend trips along the Tutuban to Alabang railway line due to flooded rail tracks.

Ferries services, particularly those in Cagayan in the north and in Palawan in the west, were suspended, the NDRRMC said while a number of domestic flights to various parts of the country had cancelled.

Other areas of the country affected by inclement weather caused by typhoon Henry-enhanced monsoons were INorthern Cagayan, Rizal and Babuyan Group of Islands, Batangas, the Central Luzon region, Mindoro and Palawan.

The weather is expected to improve in the coming days after Henry exited the country, however, monsoon rains will persist, the weather bureau, PAGASA, said.