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Storm Striking Philippines Leave Many Dead and Potentially More Missing

By: Bryan Li

Between the 27th and the 28th of October, Tropical Storm Nalgae caused flash floods and landslides which left 50 people dead and up to 60 missing.

Around 42 people were killed by the floodwater or hit by landslides in just three towns of the Maguindanao province 27-28 October. Eight others died elsewhere. According to Army Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Almorato, A mudslide in the tribal village of Kusiong buried dozens of people and has flattened at least 60 homes in a 5-hectare section of the village. At least 13 bodies, mostly of children, have been found, after bulldozers and backhoes removed a thick layer of of limestone and mud the size of ten football fields.

Many other areas have also been affected. The storms flooded Maguindanao and other outer provinces, forcing residents living in low-lying areas to scramble to higher ground, where they were later rescued. Parts of a mountain had collapsed on a hamlet home to the Teduray. 14 bodies have been found, but many others are still missing. When asked how many people are feared dead, Lester Sinsuat, the mayor of Datu Odin Sinsuat, said it could be more than a hundred. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. criticized civil defense and local officials: “Why did we fail to evacuate them? Why do we have such a high casualty [figure]?”.

The storm also affected people in other ways. The country’s coast guard forbade travel by sea as it could be a danger to the millions of Filipinos planning to visit their relatives’ graves or for reunions on All Saints’ Day. Many flights have also been canceled, stranding thousands of others. Over 158,000 people evacuated from the path of the storm.

The Philippines, being situated on the Ring of Fire, is subject to about 20 storms and typhoons every year, making it one of the world’s countries most vulnerable to natural disasters. Mindanao, the island Maguindanao is situated on, is rarely hit by storms and typhoons, but those that do hit Mindanao tend to be deadlier than usual, like Tropical Storm Nalgae. The storms that hit the Philippines are only bound to become more powerful as climate change continues.

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