Typhoon “Pedring” (International Name: Nesat) and “Quiel” (Nalgae) hit the Philippines last week destroying coastal settlements and flooding the provinces of Luzon, including Metro Manila.
Philippine authorities pegged the casualties of the typhoons to a total of 56 killed, 66 injured and at least 28 missing as of 6 p.m. Sunday (October 2).
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), damage to properties, brought by “Pedring” amounted to more than PhP8.6 billion. Authorities are still calculating the destruction caused by “Quiel.”
Power interruptions were also felt in the whole of Luzon due to damaged transmission and distribution facilities. Several dams were also opened as the water levels have reached their spilling levels. Ambuklao, Angat, Binga, Ipo, Magat and San Roque Ipo dams released water to prevent spilling.
Pedring hit the country last Tuesday while Quiel struck on Saturday worsening the floods as dams opened gates to prevent spilling. Many parts of Pampanga and Bulacan have been submerged in chest-deep water since Friday; many residents took shelter on their roofs. Some towns remain flooded as water ran down from the mountains.
Weather authorities are monitoring another storm that is forming off the east coast and could hit northern Luzon later this week.
While the effect of the typhoons is considerably significant, the result of the opening of a number of dams to prevent spilling is equally noteworthy. It is expected that flooding will take many days before subsiding as there’s simply a huge amount of water brought out by the dams.
Likewise, it should not come as surprising that water continues to inundate the provinces as the environment has become not sustainable for many decades. Forest covers in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range have disappeared at an alarming rate over the years, affecting the watersheds and causing massive soil erosion.
All of these have considerable impact on the country’s food security as the typhoons and floodwaters battered the rice bowl and vegetable-producing provinces. Observers agree that the typhoons will unmistakably affect the Aquino administration’s anticipated economic growth for the year.
Another possible result of this weather instability is migration. Some areas have become simply inhospitable and may prod those affected to simply move to more secure areas.