THE Cebu City Government is set to implement a forced evacuation for residents living in high-risk areas if the tropical depression hits Central Visayas in the middle of this week.

According to the state weather bureau, Odette is the name of the tropical depression when it enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). The typhoon is expected to enter the PAR on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

The low pressure area outside PAR has developed into a Tropical Depression (TD) on Sunday, Dec. 12.

Based on the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Tropical Cyclone Advisory No. 1 issued at 11 a.m. Sunday, the center of the tropical depression was located at 2.095 kilometers east of Mindanao.

Due to favorable environmental conditions, the tropical cyclone will likely continue to intensify and may reach the typhoon category with a maximum sustained wind of 120 kilometers per hour.

According to the forecast of Pagasa, by the evening of Dec. 15 or the morning of Dec. 16, the tropical cyclone will begin to move westward and may make landfall over the Eastern Visayas-Caraga area.

The highest possible wind signal that may be hoisted for this tropical cyclone is Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 4.

Flood-prone areas

In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama said he will possibly evacuate residents living in areas that are prone to flooding when it rains heavily.

Included in the possible evacuation are residents living in areas frequently hit by landslides. This is to avoid any lives being lost.

“We will all prepare. Be prepared, especially for these dangerous places,” Rama said in a speech in Cebuano on Sunday, Dec. 12.

The mayor instructed the personnel of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, barangay first responders and police to prepare.

Rama also ordered the inspection of evacuation areas such as barangay gyms and schools.

He also urged the Archdiocese of Cebu to also check whether there could be any part of churches that could be used as evacuation centers if needed.

Monday meeting

Rama said he will call a meeting on Monday, Dec. 13, to review the City’s preparations.

As far as he knew, Rama said Odette will bring a lot of rainwater, estimated to reach 400,000 barrels per square kilometer, which is very high compared to the normal amount of rain per month.

The mayor said it is better to be prepared before the storm hits.

If the evacuation would push through, Rama said the residents must continue wearing a face mask as the Covid-19 threat is still there.

Rama also urged Cebuanos to pray for and asked Santo Niño to keep all Cebuanos safe.

“Hopefully, let us pray to the Almighty that typhoon Odette will just pass and disappear from our skies,” said Rama.