THE number of fatalities in Maguindanao del Norte due to the onslaught of Tropical Storm Paeng (Nalgae) has increased to 31, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said on Friday, October 28, 2022.

In a radio interview, Sinarimbo said 16 individuals were killed in the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat, 10 in Datu Blah Sinsuat and five in Upi due to landslides and flash flood caused by the continuous rains brought by Paeng.

The number of fatalities may still go up as Sinarimbo said seven individuals were reported missing in Datu Blah Sinsuat, while an entire community in Barangay Kusiong, at the base of Mount Minandar in Datu Odin Sinsuat, was allegedly washed.

He said a member of the community went to the Operation Center and reported the incident where their houses were engulfed by a landslide.

There were also reports that six were killed, while another six were missing in Barangay Matuber, Datu Blah Sinsuat.

Sinarimbo said a landslide was also reported in South Upi in Maguindanao del Sur.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said rescue operations are ongoing in various areas in Mindanao, such as in Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan and Maguindanao following the flooding in the communities due to Paeng.

The PCG said flooding in some communities reached the roof of the houses.

In its latest advisory, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (Pagasa) said Paeng slightly intensified as it moved west northwestward toward northern Samar-Sorsogon-Albay area.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, Paeng was spotted at 180 kilometers east of Catarman, Northern Samar with maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour (km/h) near the center, gusts of up to 105 km/h, and central pressure of 990 hPa.

It was moving west northwestward at 25 km/h.

The weather system is expected to make landfall or pass close to Northern Samar Friday night, October 28, 2022. (SunStar Philippines)