PREEMPTIVE evacuations have been ongoing in different local government units in Eastern Visayas ahead of the expected landfall of Tropical Storm Auring in the region on Sunday evening, February 21, 2021, or early Monday morning, February 22.
As of Saturday, February 20, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the region said 1,633 individuals have been moved to safer places in Sta. Fe, Leyte (258 persons); Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte (1,259); and Tomas Oppus, Southern Leyte (116).
The Philippine Coast Guard reported a total of 2,154 persons stranded in different seaports in the region, as of 8 a.m. Sunday.
A total of 781 rolling cargoes and six vessels were also stranded, while 12 vessels were taking shelter.
In Liloan port in Southern Leyte, stranded persons reached 481, with 207 rolling cargoes and four vessels; San Ricardo port in Southern Leyte, 363 stranded persons, with 189 rolling cargoes and two vessels; Santa Clara port in Northern Samar, 599 stranded persons, with 170 rolling cargoes; Balwharteco port in Northern Samar, 501 stranded persons, with 145 rolling cargoes; and Dapdap port in Northern Samar, 210 stranded persons, with 70 rolling cargoes.
OCD said it continued its information dissemination “to create wider public awareness to ensure zero casualty incident” in the region.
Lieutenant Colonel Ma. Bella Rentuaya, spokesperson of Police Regional Office-Eastern Visayas, said a total of 1,555 search and rescue personnel were on standby, while 681 Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF) personnel were activated to boost its police rescue efforts.
As of Sunday morning, roads that were not passable include Barangay Tingib Pastrana, Leyte to Barangay Plaridel, Dagami, Leyte; and Sogod, Southern Leyte to Mahaplag, Leyte road, which is passable only for single motorcycle.
In Tacloban City, Ildebrando Bernadas, head of City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), convened his personnel for the necessary precautionary measures in the city.
Rescue equipment have already been prepositioned for possible rescue operations, according to the City Information Office.
Mayor Alfred Romualdez also instructed all CDRRMO staff and personnel “to stay alert, focused, and mindful in the exercise of their duties.”
Maasin City Mayor Nacional Mercado announced that its City Social Welfare and Development Office “already prepared relief packs for those families who may be instructed to evacuate.”
The mayor advised residents to be alert.
Southern Leyte Provincial Emergency Operation Center headed by Danilo Atienza also held a pre-disaster risk assessment in connection with the incoming storm.
As of Sunday morning, the state weather agency raised tropical cyclone warning signal number 2 in Eastern Visayas areas due to Auring. (SunStar Philippines)