Philippines – Tropical Storm “Saudel” Prompts Evacuations

Disaster authorities in the Philippines report that more than 5,000 families on the island of Luzon in the north of the country have been affected by Tropical Storm “Saudel”, known in the Philippines as “Pepito”.

The storm made landfall over Aurora Province then crossed the island of Luzon and continued west-northwest to the South China Sea.

Track of Tropical Storm Saudel / Pepito over the Philippines, 21 October 2020. Image: PAGASA

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said around 600 people were pre-emptively evacuated in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Quirino in the Cagayan Valley (Region II) and 335 people were displaced in Aurora province, Central Luzon Region (Region III). Philippine News Agency, quoting disaster officials, said 4,790 families were affected in Calabarzon (Region IV-A).

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) forecasts moderate to heavy rains over Batanes, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, La Union, Apayao, Benguet, Zambales, Bataan, Occidental Mindoro, and Calamian Islands.

Rain triggered by Saudel has already caused the rise of water level in Binga Dam in Benguet Province, prompting authorities to release water from the facility. PAGASA reported levels of the dam stood at 574.36 metres on 20 October, just under the maximum of 575 metres.

Saudel is forecast to move across the South China Sea over the coming days, passing close to Hainan Island, China, around 24 October. The storm is then expected to make landfall over the already flood-ravaged areas of central Vietnam.

Tropical Depression “Ofel” in the Philippines

Parts of the country saw flooding from 13 to 17 October as a result of heavy rain associated with associated Tropical Depression “Ofel” and the South West Monsoon.

According to the country’s Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC), around 5,000 people were affected in Quezon province and 20,000 in Cebu Province, where 3 people died.

Flash flooding on 14 October displaced 3,600 people in Kabacan and Pikit in North Cotabato Province. A total of 24,232 families or 121,160 persons were affected .

DROMIC also reported flash floods in Lamitan, Basilan Province on 15 October, affecting 2,124 families or 10,620 people.

On 17 October, flash floods struck low-lying Barangays in Zamboanga City in Zamboanga del Sur Province, and Sibuco in Zamboanga del Norte Province. A total of 2,048 families or 10,244 persons were affected.