Expect ‘worst from typhoon’-A A +A
Monday, December 3, 2012
AS STRONG as two of the deadliest storms to hit the Philippines, typhoon Pablo compelled authorities to warn local governments and households in 20 cities and provinces on its path.
“Its gustiness is similar to typhoon Ruping while its rainfall will be equal to that of typhoon Sendong,” said Minda Morante, director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 7.
There is a 75 percent chance Pablo, whose international codename is Bopha, will arrive in Central Visayas on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, she said.
The weather bureau said that Pablo can generate heavy rain, about 20 to 30 millimeters per hour, within its 700-kilometer diameter. It is the 16th weather event to enter the country this year.
Disaster authorities, the military, police and several government agencies held an emergency meeting yesterday in the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 to prepare for the typhoon.
Morante said they have already alerted local government units (LGUs) to take safety measures and make more people aware of the approaching storm.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 reminded towns and cities to refer to their hazard maps, which identified areas vulnerable to flooding.
About 2,000 packs of relief goods were prepared by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7.
The OCD 7 also gave safety guidelines such as stocking up on food, potable water, batteries and first-aid supplies.
“Let’s prepare for the worst. Based on its current speed, this is not an ordinary typhoon,” Morante said.
She said the typhoon could bring heavy rains for at least three hours.
Last November 1990, typhoon Ruping left large parts of Cebu without power and potable water for a few weeks. It damaged P10.2 million worth of properties, and left 500 dead and at least 1,200 injured.
Sendong, a late-season tropical cyclone, caused massive damage last December 2011.
Its heavy rainfall triggered flash flooding in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities that resulted in 1,268 deaths.
Local government officials in Cebu were advised to take precautions.
“Muigo man or dili, mangandam ta aning bagyoha (Whether or not it will hit us, we have to prepare for this typhoon,” Pagasa Mactan Station Chief Oscar Tabada told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday. Pagasa stands for the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
He said Pablo is almost as strong as typhoon Ruping.
As of 11 p.m. Sunday, the center of typhoon Pablo was spotted at 810 kilometers southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. It carried maximum sustained winds of 185 kph near the center and gusts of up to 220 kph. It moved west-northwest at 26 kph.
By Tuesday morning, it could be 140 kilometers east northeast of Surigao City. On Wednesday morning, the typhoon is expected to be 60 kilometers north of Dumaguete City, the weather bureau said.
The typhoon will bring an estimated rainfall amount of 20 to 30 millimeters per hour within its 700-kilometer diameter.
Lapu-Lapu City Administrator Teodulo Ybañez said that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed local government units to warn fishermen not to go out into the sea.
Small-scale miners and residents living along rivers and in areas prone to floods and landslides are advised to prepare for the typhoon.
The DILG also instructed LGUs to coordinate with the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Coast Guard and barangay officials to inform the public about the typhoon.
Mandaue City Administrator James Abadia said department heads will meet today to discuss preparations for the typhoon.
San Francisco Vice Mayor Alfredo Arquillano said he is worried that many people seem to be taking the typhoon for granted.
Arquillano, named one of the global champions of the United Nations International
Strategy for Disaster Reduction, said each household should take precautions such as charging cell phone batteries because of possible power interruptions during the typhoon.
“Matag usa kinahanglan magplano aron way kinabuhi nga makalas (Each one of us should plan so no life will be lost,” said the vice mayor, who joined an emergency meeting organized yesterday by the disaster coordinating committee of the Cebu City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).
Regan Rex King, head of the CCCI disaster coordinating committee, said they will start setting up drop-in centers for relief goods today.
“The best we can do now is to disseminate information about how to prepare for the typhoon,” said King.
John Mabanga of the Philippine Red Cross-Cebu Chapter said they will mobilize about 150 volunteers when the typhoon strikes Cebu.
“We are already prepositioning our relief goods, which include food and non-food items and hygiene kits,” he said.
Mabanga said they have started distributing their equipment to make these accessible to high-risk areas.
The Cebu City Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) is on full alert.
LDRRMC executive director Cathy Yso said they have been on full alert since Friday last week and monitoring the typhoon’s movement.
Mayor Michael Rama called for a news conference and issued a general storm advisory to the public and to the city’s officials in 80 barangays yesterday.
“All barangay officials and residents living near mountain slopes, near or along the riverbanks, coastal areas and those along the flood-prone or low-lying areas are advised to be on alert for possible flooding and landslides,” the mayor said.
In the city, the landslide-prone areas include Barangays Adlaon, Binaliw, Budlaan, Buhisan, Buot-Taup, Busay, Guba, Lusaran, Malubog, Pamutan, Pung-ol Sibugay, Sapangdaku, Sinsin, Sirao, Sudlon I, Sudlon II, Tabunan, Tagbao and Taptap.
The flood-prone areas include Barangays Bonbon, Labangon, Mabolo, Kasambagan and Kinasang-an.
“In order to better inform and warn communities, you (barangay officials) are reminded to disseminate this (advisory) through community leaders and through your barangay vehicles with public address systems,” Rama said.
Rama also ordered the 80 barangays to activate their barangay disaster brigades and monitor their villages.
“Our emphasis should be on proactive actions, that evacuation is better than rescue. Our aim is to have zero casualty,” he said.
The mayor will be meeting with the members of the city’s LDRRMC to discuss further preparations for the typhoon.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 03, 2012.