Get ready for Ruby

THE Cebu Provincial Government encouraged local governments to move families from vulnerable areas, like riverbanks, before typhoon Ruby can do its worst.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III was scheduled to convene the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council at 9 a.m. today, while Ruby enters Philippine territory.

Evangeline Perez-Tolentino, weather specialist at the Pagasa Mactan Station, said that if Ruby doesn’t change course, it may make landfall in Eastern Visayas on Friday morning.

But Tolentino also said the typhoon may still recurve in the direction of Japan if the low-pressure area in Luzon dissolves.

The Cebu City Council placed the entire city under a “state of preparedness” starting yesterday. This will allow the City to use its calamity funds for preparing the City’s response to the typhoon.

“Cebu City has experienced such kind of devastation and should be prepared and use all logistics to minimize or have zero casualties,” read a portion of the resolution sponsored by Councilor Lea Japson.

Classes

The Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC) recommended to Mayor Michael Rama to cancel classes starting this afternoon until tomorrow.

At 4 p.m. yesterday, typhoon Hagupit (Ruby’s international name) was spotted 1,275 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

It packed winds of 160 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 190 kilometers per hour, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

The typhoon moved west northwest at 30 kph.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) Officer Baltazar Tribunalo has been coordinating with local government units (LGUs) to get ready for the typhoon, said Provincial Information Officer (PIO) Ethel Natera.

Town officials were asked to review their contingency measures, especially for areas prone to landslides and floods.

Capitol has placed some of its heavy equipment in northern Cebu, where super typhoon Yolanda struck 15 towns and one city last Nov. 8, 2013.

For southern Cebu, Natera said, the Capitol coordinated with the Cebu Contractors’ Association so that the Capitol can borrow heavy equipment.

North prepares

She said the LGUs were advised to prepare food packs and evacuation centers.

According to the Philippine Enforcement Agency (PIA) 7, Danao City’s disaster management council will launch an information-dissemination facility with Smart Communications Inc. tomorrow, as part of their preparations.

Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr. already met yesterday with the City’s department heads, the PIA also reported.

Medellin, according to its Public Information Office, activated yesterday its disaster management council and posted emergency numbers on the town’s official Facebook page.

San Remegio and Compostela also convened yesterday their disaster management councils.

The Lapu-Lapu City Government is ready to implement forced evacuation of families living along the shore if typhoon Ruby hits Cebu, said Andy Berame, deputy action officer of the City Disaster Management Office.

Berame said barangays have been told to ready evacuation centers, mostly schools and covered courts.

Security

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council will meet today to discuss preparations.

Senior Insp. Rogelio Pineda Jr., chief of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office

Intelligence Branch, said the police will help convince residents in risky areas to evacuate by assuring them that the police will secure their properties.

Berame also said the City will prepare for a storm surge, with the city less prone to floods and landslides.

More than 40 City Hall and barangay employees are being trained on water search and rescue by the experts from the Metro Manila Development Authority.

The Mandaue City Government has asked owners of billboards to take down their tarpaulins.

In an earlier interview, Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Felix Suico said they have readied evacuation centers, food packs and heavy equipment.

Evacuate

Although Cebu City already prepared its logistics before the declaration, Dave Tumulak said they will still need to purchase some personal gear for the disaster team, food and emergency supplies. Tumulak heads the CCDRRMC.

“We have positioned our heavy equipment, manpower, medicines and other supplies starting Wednesday,” said Tumulak.

“Hopefully, the mayor can already declare no classes to give time for the parents to prepare and for the safety of the students,” Tumulak added.

Tumulak also met with some of the barangay captains to brief them on the preparations they have to do for the typhoon. Officials of coastal villages were asked to implement preemptive evacuation as early as tomorrow if the rains start affecting the city.

Right now, City Hall has some P90 million in calamity funds.

City Hall has identified several schools and sports complexes where evacuees from coastal villages may be housed.

Don Carlos A. Gothong Memorial National High School will be the evacuation center for the residents of Barangays Ermita, Pasil and Suba. Residents from Barangay Duljo-Fatima may be evacuated to the San Nicolas Elementary School.

Evacuation centers

The Cebu City Sports Institute was designated as the evacuation center for the residents of Barangay Sawang Calero, while families from Barangays Basak San Nicolas and Basak Pardo will be housed in Don Vicente Rama Memorial Elementary School.

Pardo Elementary School will be the evacuation center for residents from Cogon Pardo while Inayawan Elementary School will serve as the evacuation center for residents of Barangay Inayawan.

The disaster office has also asked the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) director, Senior Supt. Noli Romana, to send police teams to monitor ATMs and supermarkets, as people are expected to head to these areas for cash and emergency supplies.

The CCDRRMC also sent letters asking the managers of malls, particularly those with elevated parking spaces, to allow government vehicles—especially those will be used for emergency responses—access to their parking areas anytime, as part of efforts to position these assets.

“We have learned our lesson from typhoon Yolanda, that is why we are placing our vehicles in the areas which are considered safe,” Tumulak said.

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