Brace yourselves for Typhoon Santi, Cordillerans told-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Friday, October 11, 2013
CORDILLERANS were urged to take precautionary measures as Typhoon Santi is expected to romp through the Cordillera region today.
Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chairman Andrew Alex Uy emphasized the importance of readiness among local governments amid the expected landfall of the typhoon past dawn Friday.
As of noon Friday, the provinces of Ifugao and Benguet including Baguio City were already declared under Signal no. 3 while the provinces of Abra, Kalinga, Apayao and Mt. Province are under Signal no. 2 as the public was asked to take precautionary measures against flooding and landslides.
Uy said a standby P5 million Quick Response Fund for the Cordillera Region is ready to be utilized by calamity stricken local governments.
He urged Local DRRM Councils to also prepare their contingency and evacuation plans, standby response funds and emergency responders for the first typhoon to make a direct hit into the region.
He said the threshold for preemptive evacuation is 150 millimeters of continuous rains but local governments could start evacuating residents in critical areas earlier.
Among the areas deemed critical every typhoon is Baguio city’s City Camp Lagoon, Barangay Ambassador in Tuba municipality and Sitio Little Kibungan in La Trinidad municipality in Benguet.
He also advised residents living near waterways and steep slopes to brace for the storm expected to pummel the region with moderate to heavy rains and winds reaching 130 kilometers per hour near its center and gustiness of up to 160 kph as it moves west northwestward at 15 kph.
The CRDRRMC chairman said they are expecting a strong typhoon with heavy rains like Typhoon Pepeng which battered Benguet province on October 4, 2009 killing 77 people then and is considered one of the strongest but slow-moving and the longest staying tropical storm to hit the Philippines in recent years.
Early Friday morning, Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan suspended classes from pre-elementary to high school. Mayor Mauricio Domogan soon followed with announcements an hour later over radio stations as he stressed classes are automatically cancelled when typhoon signals are raised to the second signal.
Colleges and universities, meanwhile, held classes in the morning until it was also automatically suspended when Typhoon Signal No. 3 was declared in the city around noon.
Police Regional Office –Cordillera regional director Benjamin Magalong launched Oplan Saklolo activating all police stations all over the region to be on alert. He also said the region’s law enforcers have prepositioned 130 Search and Rescue boxes containing basic emergency and first aid materials for responders to use during the typhoon.
The DPWH, meanwhile, prepositioned heavy equipment for road clearing operations while the DSWD had standby relief packs to be given to evacuees.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 12, 2013.