THE local government of Masantol has started evacuating families in coastal areas ahead of the expected onslaught of Typhoon “Ompong” this weekend.
Mayor Danilo Guintu said that at least 72 families or some 288 individuals from four coastal villages were already evacuated to higher and safer government evacuation centers in their respective barangays.
The evacuated residents come from Barangays Bagang, Nigui, and Sagrada which are all located at the left bank portion of the Pampanga River, and at the riverside of Barangay Bebe Anac where houses are seated at the area prone to erosion, Guintu said.
He added that the local government will also implement forced evacuation on residents of Barangay Sapang Kawayan, an isolated island-like barangay at the mouth of Pampanga River, in anticipation of possible storm surges.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has warned of storm surges at least six meters high in coastal areas, especially along Cagayan and the eastern and northern coastal areas, including Aparri.
“We have already informed the residents in Sapang Kawayan to prepare and be alert for possible evacuation. Some have already voluntarily evacuated but there are some who preferred to stay but we will be implementing forced evacuation until the end of the day to ensure the safety of everybody,” he said.
Guintu also said that the local government has prepared relief packs for residents who might be affected by Typhoon Ompong, especially those who are already in evacuation centers.
The rescue and life boats as well as rescue personnel from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council are also prepositioned in anticipation of possible rescue and relief operations, Guintu said.
Meanwhile, Guintu urged Masantoleños to remain calm and avoid panicking as the local government continues to closely monitor the situation in the whole town.
He also reminded them to keep candles and emergency lights ready and charge mobile phones in preparation for possible emergency power interruptions.