By Jim Lloyd Dongiapon

Heavy rains and flooding continue to affect Central Mindanao as Tropical Storm Paeng (international name Nalgae) approaches the Philippine landmass.

Since yesterday, October 27, there has been flooding in the provinces of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, as well as in Cotabato City.

According to reports, the floods in Parang, Maguindanao del Norte, have reached roof levels. Landslides caused by heavy rains have also damaged several homes in the municipality’s Purok San Antonio Zone.

Likewise, chest-high floods have occurred in the municipality of Upi, Maguindanao del Norte. In fact, earlier this morning, some residents were trapped inside their municipal gymnasium following an event yesterday evening that lasted until midnight. Heavy rains from 1:00 AM until around 4:00 AM today flooded the gym, preventing them from leaving the area. 

As the downpour continues, evacuation efforts were made in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao del Norte this morning.

This afternoon, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Maguindanao reported that a portion of the construction site of the Sapalan River Irrigation Project (SARIP) in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte, collapsed due to flooding.

The Rio Grande de Mindanao’s downstream in Datu Piang, Maguindanao del Sur, is currently being monitored as its water level rises. Residents have been advised to prepare for possible flash floods.

On the other hand, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo stated that the death toll due to TS Paeng in Maguindanao del Norte is at 31, with 16 recorded in Datu Odin Sinsuat, 10 in Datu Blah Sinsuat, and five in Upi. 

Sinarimbo also said that seven people were missing in Datu Blah Sinsuat. 

He added that the number of casualties may rise due to a landslide in Barangay Kusiong in Datu Odin Sinsuat, which reportedly washed out the entire community, according to one resident. Rescuers have been deployed to confirm the account. 

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is yet to validate and confirm these numbers. 

Meanwhile, the Bansgamoro Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READi) is continuously monitoring the flood-stricken areas in the region.

As of 3:00 PM today, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that TS Paeng is estimated to be 195 kilometers east of Catarman, Northern Samar. It has maximum sustained winds of 85 km/hour near the center and gustiness of up to 105 km/h. It is moving west-northwestward at 25 km/h.

PAGASA is expecting that the weather disturbance will continue to strengthen, and Signal Number 4 may possibly be the highest Public Storm Warning Signal hoisted. 

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