Signal no.1 up in MisOr, Oro as ‘Basyang’ looms

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Friday, January 31, 2014


STORM signals were raised over five areas in the Visayas and Mindanao on Thursday as the low pressure area off Surigao del Sur intensified into a tropical depression, state weather forecasters said.

The Philippine Astronomical, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said storm signal number 1 is hoisted over the provinces of Surigao del Norte, including Siargao Island, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Province, Misamis Oriental including Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao and Southern Leyte in the Visayas.

Wind speed of up to 60 kilometers per hour (kph) may be expected in these areas in at least 36 hours.

Pagasa said the tropical depression named Basyang is estimated to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility Thursday evening. It was last spotted at 1,108 kilometers (km) east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur packing maximum winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center.

Basyang is forecasted to move westward at 30 kph.

TD Basyang, the second cyclone to enter the country this year, has a maximum wind of 55-kilometers per hour and is expected to be at 320-kilometers of Hinatuan and 90-kilometers north of Cagayan de Oro City by Saturday.

It is expected to be at 391 km west of Dipolog City by Sunday afternoon.

Pagasa advised that residents in “low lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides.

Landfall

The cyclone is set to make landfall over Surigao provinces late Friday evening or early Saturday morning.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 5-15 millimeter per hour (moderate - heavy) within the 300-km diameter of the latest weather disturbance.

Both the disaster risk reduction councils in the province and the city are on alert monitoring status.

Andrew Bascon, who heads the rescue team of MisOr, told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro that the rescue team together with MisOr administrator and PDRRMO head Edmundo Pacamalan Jr. is stationed in Gingoog City beginning Thursday evening since the province’s flood and landslide prone areas proliferate in the municipalities of Balingasag to Gingoog.

The province has a huge coverage, thus, it has created eight forward command incident posts where three municipalities are clustered so disaster response would be easy.

Bascon said some mountaineers and other volunteers comprise the rescue team.

Allan Porcadilla, administrative and training officer of the city disaster risk reduction and management council, said the city disaster risk reduction and management office is also under alert monitoring status.

Porcadilla said the response teams of the CDRRMC are at bay in case unlikely situations as TD Basyang would arise.

As the rain starts, the CDRRMC has placed ready mechanisms to check the water levels in rivers in the city to warn residents.

Porcadilla assured the Automatic Flashflood Alarm System (AFAS) of the CDRRMC is functioning well.

“The reports of the AFAS are still normal,” Porcadilla said Thursday.

CSWD

Teodoro Sabugaa Jr., officer in charge of the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD), said part of their standard operating procedures is to designate camp managers in every evacuation center.

He added the camp managers will ensure that the preparation in the evacuation centers is well placed.

Sabugaa furthered the evacuation centers have been identified by the village officials.

Sabugaa said the village officials should also record the vulnerable population in their respective communities to ensure their safety.

He added they should also prepare for kitchen utensils for the evacuation sites per barangay.

With regard to relief goods, Sabugaa assured the city has ample stocks of rice at bay that is equivalent to more than a thousand food packs.

Sea travel cancelled

Meanwhile, Philippine Coast Guard Public Affairs chief Commander Armando Balilo reminded the public that sea travel for commercial shipping lines is prohibited when a public storm warning signal is hoisted along specific areas affected by a typhoon.

A memorandum circular also mentioned if a shipping vessel was caught by public storm warning in the middle of the sea, it should take shelter immediately and not risk the lives of their passengers.

"All those [shipping operators] who will violate rules will be subjected for the suspension or revocation of their franchises," Balilo said.

The agency also advised all fishermen, even in those areas not directly affected by the storm warning to temporarily postpone their fishing ventures until the sea and weather condition improves.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 31, 2014.

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