Torrential rain brought the Philippine capital to a standstill yesterday, submerging some areas in waist-deep floodwaters, while thousands of people across coastal and mountainous northern regions fled to emergency shelters. At least two people were reported dead and several missing. Schools, offices, the stock exchange, courts and embassies were closed as the weather bureau placed metropolitan Manila under red alert. Video: Philippine floods paralyse capital The flooding following a night of heavy rain brought by the monsoon, which was enhanced by Tropical Storm Trami. It hovered over the North Philippine Sea and drenched the main northern island of Luzon with up to 30mm (just over an inch) of rain per hour. TV footage showed residents trapped on rooftops as raging floodwaters swept through Binan town on Lake Laguna, near Manila. Flooding has become more frequent in Manila, a city of 12 million, because of deforestation of mountains, clogged waterways and canals, where large squatter communities live, and poor urban planning. In the northern mountain town of Sagada, army troops and police rescued 29 tourists, including 13 Japanese, who were stranded for several hours inside a cave after two days of heavy rain caused a stream at the entrance to swell, said Office of Civil Defence official Andrew Alex Uy. One Filipino tourist remained missing. Several dams in Luzon were forced to open floodgates because of rising waters and thousands of residents downstream were told to move. A landslide and floods shut down traffic on a major highway leading out of Manila. In the outlying provinces of Cavite, Batangas and Ilocos Norte farther north, local authorities said flash floods forced thousands to take refuge in schools. Waters started receding in some parts of Manila yesterday afternoon, while forecasters said the storm was expected to strengthen into a typhoon with winds of up to 120km/h as it slowly moved away from the Philippines, on an expected path to Taiwan. At least 15 people were killed and thousands fled their homes a year ago when heavy rain flooded about 50 per cent of the Manila region.