Tuesday , June 19, 2018

Cordillera braces for ‘Odette’

FIVE provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region have been placed under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) 1 due to Tropical Depression (TD) "Odette" which may intensify into a tropical storm as it passes through Northern Luzon.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reports Odette may bring moderate to heavy rains within its 350-kilometer diameter and is forecast to make landfall over Cagayan–Isabela area early morning Thursday, October 12.

"We will try to impose the same preparedness measures like how we geared up for Tropical Storm Lawin last year. We appeal to all local government units (LGUs) to prepare for this weather disturbance,” Office of the Civil Defense (OCD)-Cordillera Regional Director Andrew Alex Uy said.

Uy presided over the meeting with member agencies of the Cordillera to activate action plans to prepare for the impending storm.

"TCWS No. 2 is likely to be raised within the day while Benguet may also be placed under the same tropical cyclone warning signal," Pagasa weather forecaster Eugene Ventura said.

“The track of TD Odette is almost the same with Super Typhoon Lawin. This may bring heavy rains with strong winds in the entire Cordillera region,” Ventura added.

With the weather forecast, the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) raised alert status to “blue” on Thursday.

Blue alert is a partial activation of EOC which pertains to a condition of stand-by readiness in preparation for full scale response operations. In this condition, human and material resources are made available for duty or deployment.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-Cordillera reports that food and non-food items are already prepositioned at their field offices.

Almost 30,000 family food packs are available. Non-food items such as mosquito nets, malong, blankets, sleeping bags and other kits are already in place.

As the vice chairperson for disaster preparedness, the Department of Interior and Local Government-Cordillera will issue an advisory to alert LGUs, advising the public to avoid waterways, and recommends suspension of mining operations and tourism activities.

The Department of Public Works and Highways-Cordillera (DPWH-CAR) has propositioned heavy equipment especially along areas with frequent landslides.

Engr. Ismael dela Cruz of the maintenance division of DPWH-CAR reminds motorists going to and from Baguio City to take alternative routes other than Kennon Road when heavy rains persist due to threats of landslides.

For the Search Rescue and Retrieval clusters, the Police Regional Office-Cordillera ensures that police officers are ready for possible deployment.

Meanwhile, the OCD-Cordillera is in close coordination with local DRRMC officers, intensifies monitoring and information dissemination, and prepares public and warning advisories.