Flood victims trudged through ankle-deep sludge to crowded relief centers in the Philippines on Tuesday, as the death toll rose to 246 from water that inundated the homes of nearly 2 million people. Tropical Storm Ketsana brought the worst flooding to the Southeast Asian country in four decades, chasing some victims to their rooftops to escape the rising water and sweeping others down raging rivers.
The storm struck Saturday in Manila, one of the world's largest cities with about 12 million people, and dumped more than a month's worth of rain in just 12 hours. Flooding was worst around the Pasig River that cuts through the capital, including wealthy suburbs and shanty towns. The presidential palace was opened as a relief center, and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's executive chef cooked gourmet food for victims at another shelter. Ketsana strengthened and crashed into central Vietnam on Tuesday, killing at least 23 people who drowned, were caught in mudslides or hit by falling trees, officials said. Some 170,000 people were evacuated.