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55 Dead, 20 Missing As Paeng Exits Phl

55 Dead, 20 Missing As Paeng Exits Phl
An aerial shot shows a flooded village in Tuguegarao, Cagayan on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, a day after Severe Tropical Storm Paeng hit. Photo by AFP

At least 55 people are dead and 20 more missing as Severe Tropical Storm Paeng exits the country today, Oct. 31, rescuers and weather officials have said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), which has a slower vetting process, reported on Sunday a death toll of 48 and the number of missing at 22. Most of the casualties were reported in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READi), an outfit of the BARMM, reported that 40 people either died in landslides that flattened villages or drowned in waist-deep floodwaters that tormented farming enclaves in Datu Odin Sinsuat and Datu Blah municipalities in Maguindanao del Norte.

The NDRRMC also counted two fatalities each in Regions 6 (Western Visayas) and 8 (Eastern Visayas); three in Region 12 (Soccsksargen in Central Mindanao), and one in Region 5 (Bicol).

One of the dead in Region 6 was Roger Caro, 50, whose body was found in a car that had been swept away by a flash flood off the bypass road in Barangay Jalaud Norte, Zarraga, Iloilo around 1 a.m. on Sunday.

Not included in this count was the death of a motorcycle rider in an accident along the rough and slippery road of Sitio Ibulao, Barangay Baguinge, Kiangan, Ifugao in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) last Friday, Oct. 28.

Still in CAR, Kalinga resident Severino Lumacday, 62, remained missing after he was hit by falling rocks, knocked into a creek and swept away to the Saltan River in Balbalan town. The search for his body has extended to Cagayan province since the river joins the Chico River and drains to Tuao in the neighboring province located in Region 2.

In Region 3, the body of Leo Chaves, of Barangay San Roque, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, was retrieved from the Santa Maria River at 6 a.m. on Sunday. He was reported missing at 1 p.m. Saturday at the height of Paeng’s torrential rains.

After ‘Paeng’ may be ‘Queenie’

Meanwhile, Paeng (international name Nalgae) is forecast to exit the Philippine area of responsibility today as another weather disturbance approaches the country.

On Sunday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that Paeng was moving west southwestward while decelerating before turning north northwest or northwestward, then west northwestward toward southern China. PAGASA also reported that the new tropical depression, spotted almost stationary in the Pacific Ocean some 1,250 kilometers east northeast of Northeastern Mindanao, will be named “Queenie” when it enters the Philippine area.

Packing winds of up to 45 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of 55 kph, this tropical depression may enter the country today, but also weaken into a low-pressure area upon landfall, it said. Hundreds of thousands displaced During its onslaught, Paeng caused flash floods and landslides from Thursday night to Friday, displacing a total of 578,258 residents in Cotabato City and the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur and Maguindanao del Norte.

Of this number, 337,980 are residents of BARMM’s regional capital of Cotabato City, the READi reported.

Cotabato City is traversed by downstream waterways from the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta, a catch basin for more than a dozen large rivers from hinterlands in North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Bukidnon provinces. Bangsamoro Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, who is overseeing the operation of the READi contingent, said their calamity and disaster responders are still out, providing evacuees with relief interventions.

While no deaths were reported in Negros Occidental in Region 6, floods spawned by heavy rains displaced 7,670 families or 32,447 people in 24 municipalities and cities. The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office said flash floods hit 97 barangays in Negros Occidental, affecting 8,962 families or 37,253 persons. On a national scale, the NDRRMC said Paeng adversely affected 277,383 families or a total of 932,077 individuals in 2,445 barangays throughout the country.

Of the number, the NDRRMC reported that 44,847 families or 168,453 people have been displaced by heavy rains, flooding and landslides. The NDRRMC estimated the cost of damage to houses in seven affected regions at P38.9 million.

On the other hand, damage to agriculture in Regions 6 and 12 alone and covering crops, infrastructure, machinery and equipment has reached more than 54.9 million.

National state of calamity pushed

Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr., NDRRMC chairman, said a recommendation to place the country under a national state of calamity has been submitted to President Marcos.

Faustino said he and Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos, Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo, and Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo Jr. flew around Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon on Sunday morning and will proceed to the BARMM to assess the situation.

In Region 4-A, three landslides and flooding were reported in 40 areas across the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon). There were 117 power interruptions reported in 44 municipalities in the region, 24 of which have already been restored as of Sunday afternoon. In Cavite, Gov. Jonvic Remulla told radio station dzBB that a total of 2,959 families or 10,101 individuals, were evacuated from their flood-submerged houses in 33 areas across Noveleta, Imus, Kawit, Bacoor and Rosario. Meanwhile in Quezon province, a Chinese vessel with 21 crewmembers was stranded and taking shelter in waters off Pitogo.

In CAR, landslides, flooding and mudflows led to several road closures, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Cordillera reported. These incidents were reported in Kabugao and Calanasan towns in Apayao; the Gov. Bado Dangwa National Road and Cong. Andres Acop Cosalan Road in Benguet; Kiangan-Tinoc, Kiangan-Tinoc-Buguias, Banaue-Mayoyao-Alfonso Lista-Isabela Boundary, and Ubao-Taang Roads in Ifugao; and the Lubuagan-Batong Buhay-Abra, Mountain Province-Calanan-Pinukpuk-Abbut, and Balbalan-Pinukpuk Roads in Kalinga, among others. – With John Unson, Jennifer Rendon, Artemio Dumlao, Ed Amoroso, Gilbert Bayoran, Ralph Edwin Villanueva, Ramon Efren Lazaro