MANILA — Hundreds of thousands of people already reeling from floods across the Philippines have been told to expect further heavy rains until March, authorities said Tuesday, as the disaster death toll rose to 53.
"There will be more rains in areas which should already be experiencing the dry season," the national weather bureau's spokeswoman Venus Valdemoro told AFP.
La Nina, the weather pattern whereby cooler sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean cause high rainfall, was partly responsible for the unseasonal downpours, she said.
Heavier than normal rainfall is forecast for most of the country over the next three months, increasing the risk of flooding and landslides, especially in the eastern parts of the country, Valdemoro said.
Heavy rains have swamped much of the country since late December, with floods affecting nearly 1.6 million people including more than 93,000 who fled their homes, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
More than half a million people have received government aid, it added.
The council on Tuesday raised the death toll from the heavy rains to 53, with 16 others listed as missing.
Most of the victims drowned or were killed in landslides, it said.
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