Direr Paeng picture forms: 112 dead, 161 calamity areas
More deaths have been recorded due to landslides and flooding triggered by the heavy rainfall brought by Severe Tropical Storm “Paeng” (international name: Nalgae), raising the number of fatalities nationwide to 112, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Tuesday.
More than half, or 61 of the deceased, were from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which was not in Paeng’s path but was battered by heavy rains induced by the fourth tropical storm to hit the country for the month of October.
The NDRRMC said 34 people remained missing, down from the 63 people earlier reported as unaccounted for on Monday.
Paeng affected 2.4 million individuals in 17 regions across the country, with 865,000 people displaced and taking shelter in more than 2,700 evacuation centers nationwide, the NDRRMC said.
The storm also damaged 6,542 houses valued at P12.4 million, and caused P1.3 billion in losses in agriculture, affecting 53,575 farmers and 58,000 hectares of crops, it added.
As of Tuesday, 161 areas were placed under a state of calamity, the disaster agency said.
The declaration of a state of calamity will enable local government units to use their calamity funds and hasten relief and rehabilitation efforts. The move will also be an effective mechanism to control the prices of essential commodities since a price freeze is automatically in effect in areas under a state of calamity.
A fifth weather disturbance that followed Paeng, named Queenie after it entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Monday, has weakened from a tropical depression to a low pressure area, the state weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported on Tuesday.
Light to moderate, and at times heavy, rains are to be expected over areas in Caraga and Davao Occidental between the afternoon of Nov. 1 until the morning of Nov. 2, but no wind signals were hoisted, according to Pagasa.
The agency advised residents in places prone to flooding and rain-induced landslides to follow evacuation and instructions from their local government.
The low pressure area was last spotted east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, and was moving generally westward. It is expected to dissipate in the early morning of Nov. 2.
Queenie entered PAR as a tropical storm on Oct. 31. It weakened into a tropical depression in the morning of Nov. 1 before turning into a low pressure area in the afternoon of the same day.
Five of the 17 tropical cyclones that entered PAR this year were in October alone, including Queenie.
The estimated cost of damage caused by Paeng on the agriculture sector reached P1.3 billion. This adds to the P114 million and P503 million in farm losses due to Tropical Depressions Maymay and Neneng that struck on Oct. 11 and Oct. 13, respectively.
Of the deaths related to Paeng, 28 were from Western Visayas, according to data from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Western Visayas (RDRRMC-6).
It said 24 of them died of drowning after being swept by floodwaters, while two persons suffered cardiac arrest and two others were covered by mounds of earth following a landslide.
Antique had the most number of fatalities with 11, followed by Aklan with 6; Capiz, 6, and Iloilo, 5.
The disaster teams also reported 10 missing persons — including six from Antique, two from Iloilo province, and one each from Aklan and Negros Occidental.
At least 298,708 families or 1,130,651 persons from 1,865 barangays across six provinces and the highly urbanized cities of Iloilo and Bacolod were affected by Paeng, of whom 21,893 families stayed at 935 evacuation centers in the region.
At least 4,550 houses in Western Visayas were damaged while 512 others were destroyed, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Western Visayas (DSWD-6).
In Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), police on Tuesday tallied six more people who died reportedly from drowning at the height of Paeng’s wrath, raising to 28 the latest number of fatalities in Luzon.
State of calamity
Three provinces and four cities in the Bicol and Calabarzon regions were placed under a state of calamity due to the mounting number of fatalities and losses caused by Paeng.
The province of Albay was among the first to make the declaration on Oct. 29, a few hours after the storm made its landfall in Catanduanes and Camarines Sur provinces, according to Gov. Noel Rosal.
Quezon province and its capital, Lucena City, declared a state of calamity on Monday.
In Catanduanes, where Paeng made its first landfall on Saturday morning, the Sanggunian Panlalawigan placed the island province under a state of calamity on Monday. The same was also declared in the cities of Biñan, San Pedro and San Pablo in Laguna province.
In northern Luzon, the province of Cagayan was placed under a state of calamity on Oct. 24 after it sustained more than P1 billion in losses due to damaged farms and structures following the onslaught of three storms that hit northern Luzon from Oct. 12 to 20.
Ilocos Norte has been in a state of calamity since Oct. 17 in the wake of the onslaught of Typhoon Neneng (international name: Nesat). The province was again placed under a state of calamity on Oct. 27 following the magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck northern Luzon provinces on Oct. 25.
—WITH REPORTS FROM JOEY MARZAN, DELFIN T. MALLARI JR., MICHAEL B. JAUCIAN, REY ANTHONY OSTRIA, MADONNA T. VIROLA, VILLAMOR VISAYA JR., JOHN MICHAEL MUGAS, TONETTE OREJAS, JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOT AND INQUIRER RESEARCH