Philippine President declares state of calamity in regions affected by storm Nalgae

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Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered officials to declare a state of calamity in provinces badly affected by tropical storm Nalgae, as tens of thousands of people remain in evacuation centers.

Marcos wants a declaration to cover the Bicol region in the southernmost part of Luzon and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, his press secretary said in a statement. The president is also weighing a recommendation from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to declare a national state of calamity for one year, which would trigger a price freeze and the release of emergency funds.

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Nalgae is the 16th storm to slam the Philippines in 2022 and has affected areas across the three major island groups of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. About 20 cyclones pass through the Philippines each year, causing fatalities and damage to agriculture, homes and infrastructure.

The storm comes at a time when the Southeast Asian nation is already experiencing food shortages from sugar to white onions, fanning the highest inflation in four years. In September, Typhoon Noru damaged swaths of the country’s farmland, further aggravating supply constraints.

Storm Nalgae, known locally as Paeng, weakened as it exited the Luzon landmass on Sunday. Moving at 30 kilometers per hour (19 miles per hour), it now has maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h and gusts of up to 105 km/h, the state weather bureau said in its 5:00 a.m. report. It forecasts Nalgae will have left the Philippines by Tuesday.

The government has evacuated nearly 170,000 people, more than half of whom were still in evacuation centers late Saturday, according to the national disaster-management agency. It reported that at least 48 people had been killed and 40 others injured, in the rampaging floods, landslides and torrential rain triggered by Nalgae. Nearly 200 roads and bridges remain impassable.

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