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Philippines remembers deadly flood, buys boats

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos held ceremonies Sunday marking the first anniversary of the worst floods to hit Manila in 40 years, as the government announced it has provided 160 rescue boats to help respond to future inundations.

Tropical Storm Ketsana struck Sept. 26, 2009. It affected four million Filipinos, killed 464 and destroyed 40,000 houses in and around the Philippine capital.

In Rizal province, a memorial was unveiled Sunday for villagers who perished trying to save neighbors. Other towns and cities staged prayers of remembrance and other ceremonies.

Top civil defense official Benito Ramos said 160 rescue boats have been provided for flood-prone Manila areas and 50 more will be bought.

During last year’s deluge, some army rescuers perished when their rubber boats sank after being punctured by debris. The new rescue boats, which can carry 12 to 18 people, have been fitted with fiberglass hulls to prevent such accidents.

"Nature taught us so many lessons last year," Ramos said.

He also urged squatters to move away from river banks and for people to dispose garbage properly to help prevent floods.

Some 11 more typhoons and storms are expected this year, he said.

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