People swim through flood water Sunday in suburban Pasig City, east of Manila, after a tropical storm tore through the northern Philippines. ((Rey Bruna/Philippine Air Force/Associated Press))

The death toll in the massive flooding that swept the Philippine capital of Manila and nearby provinces has reached 240, with 37 others missing, officials said Tuesday.

The National Disaster Co-ordinating Council said the homes of almost 1.9 million people were inundated, with nearly 380,000 people brought to schools, churches and other evacuation centers.

Army troops, police and civilian volunteers backed by U.S. troops continue the search and rescue effort in the country, according to Defence Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.

The flooding was set off after tropical storm Ketsana hit the northern portion of the Philippines on Saturday.

The government has declared a "state of calamity" in 25 provinces and in metropolitan Manila, which has a population of about 20 million.

Flood waters were fast receding, but many areas of the capital remained under water, particularly in the eastern suburbs of Manila.

The 42.4 centimetres of rain that swamped metropolitan Manila in just 12 hours on Saturday exceeded the 39.2-centimetre average for all of September, chief government weather forecaster Nathaniel Cruz said.

Teodoro said government forecasters are concerned more bad weather might be on its way. They have been monitoring a low pressure area over the Pacific Ocean that could develop into a storm, possibly hitting the country later this week.

With files from The Associated Press