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Twitter, Facebook help Philippines flood survivors flee

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The estimated number of people displaced in the Philippines by a devastating storm on Saturday has doubled, to more than 435,000, according to government officials. Officials are calling tropical storm Ketsana, which dumped a month’s worth of rain in six hours, the worst in 40 years.

As of Monday, 86 people were reported killed in floods that left some parts of the capital, Manila, under nearly 20 feet of water. The toll could rise as provincial authorities continue rescue efforts, and as new storms brew to the country’s east.

A massive rescue operation is underway, with the government relocating more than 100,000 people to 200 evacuation centers, and authorities working to distribute food, water, and medical supplies. But their efforts have been severely hampered by blocked roads and downed power and phone lines.

Meanwhile, Internet users from the Philippines to Hollywood are supplementing government efforts by posting everything from emergency phone numbers to appeals for donations online.

One eyewitness, in an opinion piece for the Philippines’ Inquirer newspaper, writes that people could not believe how quickly the floods began.

The Associated Press posted these images.

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