by: Vinci Tamayo || Photo Credit: Eloisa Lopez/Reuters
After plowing through the Philippines and affecting the lives of over 3.96 million individuals, Severe Tropical Storm “Paeng” — internationally known as Nalgae — left the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Monday noon, October 31, leaving 6,542 damaged residences. The death toll also now sits at 150 as of November 3, 2022, with 63 verified fatalities from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, 23 from Western Visayas, and three from Soccsksargen.
The storm first entered the PAR as a tropical depression, 965 kilometers east of Eastern Visayas at 12:30 PM on October 26 and was given its local name, “Paeng.” It then intensified into a tropical storm a day later. Its first landfall took place in Virac, Catanduanes, as a severe tropical storm at approximately 1 AM on Saturday, October 29, while sustaining winds of up to 95 kph and a gustiness of 160 kph.
During its time in the PAR, STS Paeng made landfall in a total of five different places: Virac, Catanduanes; Caramoan, Camarines Sur; Buenavista, Quezon; Santa Cruz, Marinduque; and San Juan, Batangas, while maintaining its strength and status as a severe tropical storm throughout. After its recent departure from the PAR, however, its winds intensified further in the West Philippine Sea, reportedly packing winds of up to 110 kph and a gustiness of 135 kph on the afternoon of Monday, October 31. This increase in strength led to the expansion of the area covered by the storm, causing numerous regions in the northwestern parts of the country to remain under Signal No. 1 despite STS Paeng already being outside the PAR.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), STS Paeng was one of the most destructive storms to hit the Philippines this year, with infrastructural and agricultural damages reaching an estimated ₱2.83 billion and ₱2.44 billion, respectively as of November 3.
During a council meeting of the NDRRMC on October 29, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. highlighted his concerns regarding the number of deaths, expressing that the death toll seemed “very high for a flooding incident” and wondering why affected individuals were not evacuated immediately.
“I would like to start with the flooding in Maguindanao, simply because we have to already look at it dahil ang daming casualty. It will be important to us to look back and see why this happened, na hindi natin naagapan ito na 67 ang casualty, that seems very high for a flooding incident,” Marcos said during the meeting.
[I would like to start with the flooding in Maguindanao, simply because we have to already look at it because there are many casualties. It will be important to us to look back and see why this happened, that we could not prevent this 67 casualties, that seems very high for a flooding incident.]
“So maybe if we could start with there first, just to give me a better idea of what happened, what caused the flooding and bakit hindi natin sila na-evacuate at nagkaganyan ang casualty, napakataas [why were we not able to evacuate them and that the casualty turned out to be so high]?” the Philippine President expressed.