Rain, flood threaten Cebu

CEBU -- Super Typhoon Ruby appears unlikely to make landfall in Cebu, unlike Yolanda, but intense rain continues to threaten the northern parts of the province and Cebu City.

Ruby is expected to directly hit Eastern and Northern Samar late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, with enough force to generate storm surges up to four meters high.

But it’s a slow mover. As of 11 p.m. Friday, the government weather bureau Pagasa said the typhoon will crawl westward at 10 kilometers per hour (kph) and stay in Philippine territory until Wednesday morning.

Ruby can dump 7.5 to 20 millimeters of rain every hour within its diameter of 600 kilometers. It has maximum sustained winds of 195 kph near the center and gusts of up to 230 kph.

More than 7,800 families were evacuated in Cebu City and several northern towns, and spent the night in schools, churches, town halls and the sturdier homes of some private citizens.

“Let us not be complacent. We need to be 100 percent prepared,” said Olivia Luces, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Central Visayas.

In Bantayan Island alone, at least 17,000 individuals were evacuated to the schools, including those families living in the islets. Bantayan and Daanbantayan were among the areas where Yolanda made landfall last year.

Local governments spent Friday persuading at-risk families to evacuate, repacking and distributing food and other basic supplies, and feeding those already housed in the evacuation centers.

In Daanbantayan, some private homeowners opened their doors to evacuees.

Mayor Augusto Corro and his staff have made a list of private houses ready and sturdy enough to temporarily house some families.

(Video by Nera Mariz Puyo and Jay Ann Clamohoy/Sunnex)

Security

In the Metro Cebu cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, at least 945 families were also moved from the danger zones, officials said.

Mandaue City Public Information Officer Roger Paller said that evacuees were encouraged to bring kitchen utensils so they can cook their own rice and canned goods, to be provided by the City.

He said at least 633 families are transferred to the Mandaue City Central School from Barangays Mantuyong, Guizo, Looc, Alang-Alang, Cambaro and Centro.

At a meeting Friday of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC)-Central Visayas, the police said they have taken steps to ensure they have enough personnel available this stormy weekend.

Senior Superintendent Erson Digal, chief of the regional operations and plans division, said the provincial and city police directors were told to secure National Food Authority warehouses, supermarkets, malls and other establishments.

With sea trips to and from Central Visayas suspended, the Coast Guard said they were able to prepare 13 aluminum boats, two rubber boats and a big vessel to respond to any emergency.

Signal No. 3

Northern Samar, Eastern Samar and Samar were placed under Storm Signal Number 3 as of 11 p.m. Friday by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Storm Signal Number 2 remained in effect in Northern Cebu, Cebu City, Bantayan, Camotes, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Dinagat Province, Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate. Winds of 61-100 kph are expected in these areas today, December 6.

Almost a thousand families in six coastal barangays in Cebu City voluntarily evacuated on Fr]iday.

Executive Director Sim Romarate of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said they included residents of Barangays Pasil, Suba, Ermita, Duljo Fatima, Sawang Calero and Sambag II.

For now, they share the Basak San Nicolas Gym, Gothong Elementary School, San Nicolas Elementary School and the Sambag II barangay sports complex.

‘Need people’

Romarate said that these families decided to evacuate starting last Thursday night, fearing that the typhoon might unleash storm surges and strong winds.

Mayor Michael Rama said it was good that the families voluntarily evacuated but he made it clear that the City Government has not yet ordered preemptive evacuation.

Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) Chief Dr. Ester Concha said they have already prepared 6,000 food packs for the families who will be temporarily housed at the evacuation centers.

Each family, Concha said, will be given three kilos of rice and canned goods, which are expected to last for three days.

Rama also issued a work advisory on Friday, asking all private companies and agencies to allow employees to leave early or suspend work starting at noon, so they can prepare for the typhoon.

City Hall, though, Rama will have work during the weekend, except for senior citizens, pregnant employees and those who have ailments.

“We need people now because of the typhoon,” the mayor said.

No parking

The City Traffic Operations Management prohibited the public from parking their vehicles on roads, especially narrow roads. Operations division head Joy Tumulak said this was meant to keep parked vehicles from blocking ambulances.

In Medellin, one of the areas badly hit by Yolanda last year, Mayor Ricardo Ramirez said that at least 1,196 individuals were being temporarily housed in seven barangays.

He said that municipal workers had positioned five generator sets in the town’s water pumps to make sure they will have sufficient water even if the power gets cut.

Guiles Villamor, Medellin municipal disaster risk reduction management officer, said that as of 3 p.m. Friday, the town had prepared food packs from 87 sacks of rice, plus 25 more sacks they bought from National Food Authority.

In Bogo City, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Ben Rodriguez said that as of 5 p.m., some 852 families or 1,927 individuals were housed in 59 evacuation centers: schools, barangay halls and chapels. (FMG/RVC/PDF/OCP/DSM/Sun.Star Cebu)

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