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Problems just beginning for Philippines poor

Thursday August 16, 2012 - 22:30 EST

Humanitarian aid groups in Manila say problems are only beginning for the poor, after weeks of heavy rain in the Philippines brought floods that claimed at least 109 lives and displaced about 300,000 people.

The Philippines government has now announced a plan to clear metro Manila of low-lying shanty towns, home to about 300-thousand poor dwellers.

Chairman of Party of Labouring Masses, Sonny Melencio, told Radio Australia's that if people are forced to move to the provinces they will struggle to find jobs.

"The government response to their plight is basically to move them out of their areas, of their communities and to relocate them in areas where there is no job, in areas where there are no facilities," he said.

Mr Melencio says Philippines President Benigno Aquino had blamed the floods on low-lying shanty towns in urban Manila, and had asked one of his departments to clear the areas by blasting the houses.

Mr Melencio says by clearing the communities the government will displace around 700,000 people.

Many displaced residents have now been asked to leave evacuation centres and many areas of Manila are still flooded.

Water-borne illnesses are also a threat, Mr Melencio says, with medicine prices increasing rapidly.

"The medicine against leptospirosis has gone up 750 per cent, so I think it started with a few pesos.

"If you have some open wound and then you wade through the flood, then it gets infected and then all sorts of complications come in.

"The health situation is really very messy."


© ABC 2012

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