Hundreds stranded in storm-A A +A
Thursday, October 25, 2012
BACOLOD City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (CDRRMC) Office head Jose Marie Vargas said the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said about 330 passengers were stranded at the city’s Bredco Port Wednesday morning.
Trips were cancelled for inter-island sea vessels as Negros Occidental was placed under storm signal no. 1 Wednesday brought by Tropical Storm Ofel.
Moreover, about 200 members, of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines – Bacolod City delegation, who are bound to attend a regional encampment from October 24 to 29 in Camp Marina, Cebu City, were stranded in Negros Oriental and had to stay in Amlan gymnasium Wednesday night after the Coast Guard cancelled the travel of all sea vessels.
The delegates were instructed to assemble Wednesday in front of Rizal Elementary School at Araneta Street, Bacolod City at 4 a.m., although delegation officials knew that the buses, which would take them to Cebu, would arrive around 6 a.m. yet.
Some of the officials arrived shortly before 6 a.m. while the young Girl Scouts, their parents who sent them off, and the teachers who headed their respective schools had already been waiting for about two hours.
The buses eventually arrived after 6 a.m. but the pandemonium in boarding the buses precluded the delegation from leaving the city until 8 a.m.
On the other hand in Bacolod City, Vargas said he also advised the Department of Education (DepEd) to cancel the 2-day Boy Scout jamboree held in Barangay Granada, Bacolod City and to end their program by noontime so they can send the Boy Scouts home.
Public school children had no classes on Wednesday for their teachers underwent a seminar, he said.
Vargas said during their meeting, they convened the Disaster Operation Center and the Barangay Disaster Committee to prepare for the incoming bad weather.
They also advised the Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD) and the City Health Office to inform the barangay-based social workers and barangay health workers to be on standby especially that high tide will be at 8 p.m., he said. The critical period is from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. today, Thursday, and they are monitoring the situation 24/7, he added.
Vargas said he advised DepEd to prepare the schools as evacuation centers, while the City Engineer’s Office and the Department of Public Services will provide vehicles for possible evacuation.
He said the City Health Office will provide medical needs while the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) will provide water for the evacuation centers.
All rescue volunteer groups including the Philippine Red Cross are on alert level one while Police Precincts 1 to 10 will serve as coordinating centers of the barangays, he added.
Vargas said the Banago Elementary School and Andres Bonifacio Elementary School will serve as evacuation centers for the coastal barangays of Banago, Bata, Barangay 1, 3, 4, and 6.
Other areas of concern are Barangays Pahanocoy, Singcang, Tangub, Taculing and Mansilingan which experience flooding, he said. (Carla N. Canet and Butch S. Bacaoco)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 25, 2012.