TROPICAL Depression "Crising" has spoiled the travel plans of thousands of passengers who spent their Lenten break in Eastern Visayas and Mindanao provinces, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) reported on Saturday.
Several Luzon-bound passengers spent Black Saturday at the Allen, Northern Samar port, as the Philippine Coast Guard cancelled sea travel ahead of Crising’s landfall over Samar Island.
“We are sure that there are stranded passengers in Northern Samar since people are returning to Manila after spending Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in provinces,” said OCD Regional Director Edgar Posadas.
The official, however, was still gathering reports of stranded passengers as of Saturday afternoon, April 15.
In a report by the Northern Samar provincial disaster risk reduction and management council posted on social media, at least 606 persons have been stranded in Allen and San Isidro Northern Samar piers as of Friday night, April 14.
Boat trips have been cancelled in Samar provinces since the night of Good Friday when the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) placed the region under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal number 1.
As of Saturday noon, sea travel was banned in the entire region, as strong winds could generate four-meter high waves in open seas.
“Travelers from Eastern Visayas are advised to postpone land trips to Luzon and Mindanao until cyclone warning signal is lifted in the region as advised by the Philippine Coast Guard,” Posadas added.
Buses, cars and trucks from various provinces of Mindanao and Eastern Visays bound for Luzon pass through Northern Samar ports to cross the San Bernardino Strait through roll-on roll-off ships.
Pagasa said in its forecast on Saturday noon that Crising has slightly weakened as it is expected to make landfall over Samar provinces in the afternoon.
Its center was estimated at 155 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
Pagasa said the tropical depression has maximum winds of up to 45 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 55 kph.
Residents in areas under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal number 1 were alerted against possible flash floods and landslides. These areas are Sorsogon, Burias island, Romblon, Masbate, including Ticao island, Aklan, Antique, Iloilo, Capiz, Northern Cebu, Northern Negros Occidental, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte and Southern Leyte.
The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has asked local government units to prepare for possible impacts of Crising, as it is heads for Samar Island Saturday afternoon. (PNA)