NEGROS Occidental was spared from the wrath of Typhoon Ursula after some parts of the region incurred damages to lives and properties.
Despite that, Zephard Caelian, Provincial Disaster Management Program Division Head, said the northern part of the province was among the areas declared under storm signal no. 2 on Tuesday, December 24, 2019.
No damages were reported and evacuations weren’t conducted all over the province.
However, because of the inclusion of Negros Occidental under storm signal no. 2, hundreds of passengers and cargo were stranded, disrupting travel during the holiday season.
Lieutenant Commander Jansen Benjamin, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Negros Occidental chief, said they started the suspension of sea travel in the province on Monday afternoon, December 23, when storm signal no. 1 was hoisted over the province.
Based on PCG's own monitoring by 6:00 p.m. Monday, they counted 50 passengers were stranded at the Bredco port in Bacolod, along with 20 cargo trucks.
In Escalante City, authorities counted at least 148 passengers bound for Tabuelan, Cebu were stuck in port, while 80 passengers bound for Toledo, Cebu were stranded at the San Carlos City Port.
By Tuesday morning, more passengers arrived at the Bredco Port hoping to cross to Iloilo City, although the PCG still barred vessels from leaving port as the storm signal was still raised in the province.
In a separate report by the Bacolod City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), they counted at least 180 stranded passengers between Tuesday and Wednesday, December 25, at the Bredco Port.
The passengers were sheltered at the Education and Training Center School-4 in Barangay 16.
The CDRRMO also reported that the local barangay assisted them in providing food, water and hygiene kits to the stranded passengers.
The City Health Office, meanwhile, set up a first aid station to attend sick travelers, while the Bacolod City Police Office detailed some of their personnel as security for the passengers.
By late afternoon of Wednesday, the storm signal was lifted in Negros Occidental and the PCG immediately resumed sea travel.