| 24 February 2024, Saturday |

Philippine capital braces for storm Nalgae, death toll cut to 45

On Saturday, Manila and surrounding cities prepared for Tropical Storm Nalgae, which has already claimed the lives of 45 people, largely as a result of landslides in the southern regions of the Philippines.

The country of Southeast Asia’s disaster agency checked information from ground staff, including rescuers looking for 18 people who were reported missing, and decreased the death toll from 72 to 45.

According to the mayor’s office, residents of the capital’s coastline region were evacuated while all levels of education were put on hold.

Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan ordered the closure of the city’s cemeteries, where millions had been expected to visit during the extended All Saints’ Day weekend, on Saturday.

The tropical storm, which has maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers (60 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 130 kph (80 mph), has made multiple landfalls in the eastern Philippines on Saturday.

The state weather agency, in its latest bulletin, warned of widespread flooding and landslides because of heavy and at times torrential rains over the capital region and nearby provinces as Nalgae cuts through the main Luzon Island and heads to the South China Sea.

Airlines have cancelled 116 domestic and international flights to and from the Philippines’ main gateway. Nearly 7,500 passengers, drivers, and cargo helpers and 107 vessels were stranded in ports, the coast guard said.

Government agencies were giving aid and food packs to affected families, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Twitter.

According to images released by the agency, rescuers in the central Leyte province carried toddlers and elderly people using an old refrigerator and a monobloc plastic chair as they helped residents navigate chest-deep floods.

At 40, the southern Maguindanao province has recorded the most of the fatalities.

According to Maguindanao’s regional administrator Cyrus Torrena, “We are not dismissing the prospect of further casualties.” But we hope it won’t increase considerably.

Twenty tropical storms pass through the Philippines on average each year. Category 5 Typhoon Rai wreaked havoc on the central provinces in December, killing 407 people and injuring more than 1,100.

  • Reuters