Public advised to get ready vs typhoon

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

CEBU CITY – Prepare for a typhoon that may enter the Philippine area of responsibility early Sunday morning, the weather bureau advised.

As of 2 p.m. on Saturday, the typhoon with an international name “Bopha” was located 1,600 kilometers east of southern Mindanao.

The typhoon is still too far to affect any part of the country within the next two days, a Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather bulletin said, but “disaster managers are advised to be alert to the possible effects of the incoming weather disturbance.”


Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said she already alerted disaster teams of all barangays. She advised the barangay chiefs to warn fishermen not to sail and owners of sea vessels to cancel their trips if the typhoon hits the country.

When it enters the country’s territory, Bopha will be named Pablo.

Satellite image as of 7:30 p.m., Saturday, December 1

The typhoon, which is moving west at 20 kilometers per hour, is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility early Monday morning, approaching from the east of Mindanao.

The typhoon has maximum sustained winds of 165 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 200 kilometers per hour, according to the Pagasa.

Based on the 5 p.m. weather forecast of Pagasa, the typhoon will bring cloudy skies with brief rain showers or thunderstorms in Mindanao.

Moderate to strong winds will prevail over Luzon and the eastern sections of the Visayas and Mindanao.

Ella Comahig, weather observer at Pagasa Mactan-Cebu station, advised local government units to be alert against the typhoon.

Evacuation plans should be prepared for residents living along the seashore and in areas prone to floods and landslides.

If the direction of the typhoon will not change until it enters the Philippine area of responsibility, it may hit Cebu, Comahig said.

“Posible nga kusog gyud siya inig sud sa Pilipinas (It is possible that the typhoon will be much stronger when it hits the Philippines),” she said.

Radaza identified Barangays Pusok, Pajo and Ibo as areas that may need evacuation centers because many of their residents live along the seashore.

She said the Philippine Red Cross recently trained disaster response teams in the island barangays.

The City aims to form a disaster action response team, which will be composed of City Hall employees.

Members of them will undergo first aid training, basic disaster management course, water safety and rescue course, basic ambulance and vehicle operations, among others.

Forming an action team is part of the City’s disaster and risk reduction management plan.

Once formed, the team will coordinate with the existing response teams, such as the Emergency Response Unit Foundation (Eruf) and the Philippine Red Cross.

In Cagayan de Oro City, authorities are looking at evacuating at least 15,000 families living in critical areas along the Cagayan de Oro River ahead of the typhoon (international code name: Bopha), the strongest storm feared to hit the Philippines this year.

Engineer Armen Cuenca, assistant disaster officer, said the evacuation may start on Sunday night or early Monday when the Pagasa expects the storm to landfall somewhere in Bohol in the Visayas.

Cuenca said the local government might resort to force evacuation if Pagasa hoists a red alert over Cagayan de Oro on Monday.

“We do not want a repetition of Sendong. This time we aim to have a zero casualty rate,” Cuenca said Saturday.

At least 700 residents here died while 417 persons remained missing when Tropical Storm Sendong struck the city and the nearby Iligan City on December 17, 2011.

Sendong was the deadliest cyclone to hit the country in recent years with the death toll in both cities breaching the 1,000-mark and affected half-a-million residents.

Cuenca said that evacuation centers will be set up in Barangays 21, 10, Camaman-an, Indahag and Agusan in the eastern side of the city.

On the other side of the Cagayan de Oro River, Cuenca said evacuation centers would rise in Barangays Carmen, Patag, Kauswagan, Bulua, Xavier Heights and Iponan.

“On Monday, fire trucks and police vehicles will sound their sirens all around the critical areas. This will signal the forced evacuation that we will be implementing ahead of the typhoon,” Cuenca said.

Councilor Adrian Barba said police officers will be authorized by the City Government to enforce the mandatory evacuation as soon as Pagasa raises the red alert.

“There will be no ifs or buts. Police will be knocking on every house and evacuate all the people,” Barba said.

Barba said the City Government has already prepared the necessary foodstuffs for the anticipated influx of residents who will be evacuated.(RSB of Sun.Star Cebu/Froilan Gallardo/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 02, 2012.

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