Philippines – Tropical Storm ‘Choi-Wan’ (Dante) Triggers Deadly Flash Floods and Evacuations

Tropical Depression Choi-Wan (local name ‘Dante’) intensified into a tropical storm on 31 May, 2021 as it entered the Philippines Area of Responsibility (PAR). Authorities in

Searching for a missing person after floods in South Cotabato, Philippines, May 2021. Photo: PDRRMO South Cotabato

As of 01 June the centre of the storm was estimated at 125 km east-southeast of Guiuan in Eastern Samar. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Choi-Wan is forecast to make initial landfall over Eastern Samar or Leyte late 01 June or early 02 June (local time). The storm is forecast to maintain its strength prior to landfall. Choi-Wan may weaken into a tropical depression on 04 June and to a Low Pressure Area on 05 June. PAGASA warned of heavy rain, rough seas, storm surge and strong winds.

Tropical Storm Choi Wan Dante Philippines June 2021. Image: PAGASA

Rainfall from Choi-Wan is already making an impact. On 01 June the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported incidents of flooding and landslides in several areas in Soccsksargen.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) in South Cotabato province reported 1 person had died and 1 was missing after the victims were caught in flash floods along the Banga River near Norala on 30 May. Search operations are continuing. PDRRMO said teams are conducting searches along a 52 km area of Banga River. PDRRMO added that flooding also caused material damages, including at least three bridges and levee in Banga. Around 109 households were affected and crops damaged.

Meanwhile in Davao del Sur Province, several areas have been affected by the storm, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which reported over 600 people have evacuated their homes and moved to 10 emergency evacuation shelters.