Bantayan islet folk evacuated moves isle folk

SOME 143 individuals from an islet off Bantayan Island were the first to be evacuated, as signal number one was hoisted over Cebu City, northern Cebu including Camotes and Bantayan islands and Bohol at 11 o’clock last night.

Gov. Hilario Davide III suspended classes in all levels in both public and private schools in the province today and tomorrow, as did the mayors of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Cebu City.

As the entire province braced for typhoon Ruby, Bantayan Mayor Christopher Ian Escario led the first group of evacuees from Sitio Mambacayao Diot in the island barangay of Lipayran, where 83 individuals were brought to the town proper using his motor banca yesterday morning. Some 60 individuals from Sitio Mambacayao Dako followed.

The families are staying at the Bantayan Southern Institute in Barangay Bantigue, Bantayan town.

Some residents of Biagayag, Barangay Sulangan were also evacuated to Sulangan Elementary School in Bantayan.

The town is again in the path of another typhoon, only a year after it was battered by super typhoon Yolanda.

‘75% probable’

Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-asa) weather specialist May Macasilagan said Ruby will be felt in Cebu this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

“There is a 75 percent probability that the typhoon will cross northern Cebu,” said Macasilagan.

Signal No. 1

Signal No. 1 was raised over northern Cebu including Bantayan Island and Camotes Island and Bohol in the Visayas, Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate including Ticao Island in Luzon and in Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Camiguin Island and Agusan del Norte in Mindanao.

Signal No. 2

Signal No. 2 was already raised in Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte and Southern Leyte in the Visayas region and in Dinagat Island and Siargao Island in Mindanao.

Tapales said typhoon Ruby is expected to be at 360 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar this afternoon and it is expected to make a landfall over Eastern Samar and Northern Samar area tomorrow.

By Sunday, it is expected to be at 30 kilometers west southwest of Romblon.

Be prepared

Typhoon Ruby’s strength prompted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to warn 200 barangays in Central Visayas of landslides, storm surges and flooding when the typhoon hits Cebu tomorrow afternoon.

DENR 7’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau urged residents of these barangays to evacuate now.

MGB 7 Director Loreto Alburo said that while typhoon Ruby is described as less powerful than typhoon Yolanda, being prepared or being “over prepared” is a better option to ensure the safety of communities.

Storm surge

Based on their geohazard assessment, the MGB 7 identified 11 barangays in Cebu that are vulnerable to storm-surges: Arpili in Balamban; Tungkil in Minglanilla; Talisay, Maricaban and Kinatarcan in Sta. Fe; Tarong, Mancilang and Codia in Madridejos; Patao and Pitogo in Bantayan, and Tanke in Talisay City.

Landslides

The MGB also identified barangays that are highly susceptible to landslides—19 in Cebu City, six in the City of Naga, 11 in Balamban, five in Toledo City, five in Asturias, seven in Talisay City, two in Dumanjug and one in Ronda.

“Our mayors and barangay captains should keep an eye on areas that are found to be highly susceptible to flooding and landslides, which they are already aware of as indicated in the geohazards threat advisory issued to them,” Alburo said.

Evacuate now

During the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) conference yesterday, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) 7 reminded all LGUs that evacuation must be done 12 hours before the typhoon is expected to hit the area.

“We will not wait for the rain to start before we evacuate. But of course, the LGUs are the ones that can assess because they are the ones who know their areas,” said OCD 7 head Olivia Luces.

Luces said that as early as today, the LGUs should already identify areas that are safe for evacuation.

“Once the storm signal is raised, they may have to evacuate especially those living in coastal areas,” she said.

The Central Command, which declared a red alert status, will deploy personnel to affected areas for evacuation and rescue.

Mandaue City

In Mandaue City, public information officer Roger Paller said preemptive evacuation started yesterday in landslide-prone areas in the mountain barangays of Casuntingan, Tingub and Tawason.

Lapu-Lapu City

Coastal and island barangays in Lapu-Lapu City were also monitored yesterday. Mayor Paz Radaza asked barangay captains to coordinate with the Department of Education for the evacuation centers.

Cebu City

For its part, the Cebu City Government finalized preparations for the typhoon, but it has yet to implement preemptive evacuation as of yesterday.

Residents of coastal communities and those living beside waterways will be evacuated starting today if rains and winds will be felt, said CCDRRMC chairman Dave Tumulak.

During the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) Council meeting yesterday, Davide said all Capitol offices will maintain a skeletal workforce to assist the LGUs even if work hours will be shortened today.

Rice

PDRRM Officer Baltazar Tribunalo said the Capitol has 1,000 bags of rice available for distribution. The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office will start distributing relief goods today.

For private business establishments, Davide said it is up to their management if they will let their employees report for work.

Ruby’s location

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (Pagasa) monitored the eye of typhoon Ruby at 720 kilometers east of Surigao City.

“By Friday, di pa masyadong mararamdaman ang epekto ng bagyo,” said Raffy Tapales, weather observer at the Pagasa Mactan Station.

Ruby has maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour with gustiness of up to 240 kilometers per hour.

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