A motorist is helped by young residents as he manoeuvres through a flooded street after a heavy downpour caused by tropical storm Songda. The government warned of heavy rains across the main island of Luzon. Image Credit: AFP

Manila: Thousands of families are being evacuated and hundreds are stranded in southern Luzon while streets in Metro Manila are flooded as Typhoon Songda (known as Chedeng) brought heavy rains last night, officials said.

"We are evacuating 49,893 families from coastal areas for two days," Governor Jose Salceda of Albay, in southern Luzon's Bicol, said in a radio interview.

Volcanic debris

Families living at the foot of the Mayon Volcano in Albay will also be evacuated, said Salceda, adding that thousands could lose their homes when heavy rain sends volcanic debris down the slopes of the active volcano.

Some 533 people were stranded at ports in the Bicol Region as local government officials barred ships and fishing vessels from sailing. Meanwhile, parts of Makati City, Metro Manila's financial district, were flooded yesterday.

Major and minor streets in Quezon City, Pasay City, Paranaque, Pasig, and Alabang have been flooded since Tuesday night. The situation was exacerbated by sudden rains yesterday afternoon, prompting fears Songda could pass by the capital, despite earlier assessment it would land on northern Luzon, some 500km north of the Metro area. Yesterday morning, Songda was 490km east of Eastern Samar in central Philippines with maximum sustained winds of up to 160 km/h.

More damage

"It could twist trees, damage crops, make homes roofless," warned Department of Science and Technology (Dost) undersecretary Graciano Yumul Jr, also supervisor of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).