NDRRMC on red alert for ‘Helen’By Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – It will be another busy week for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Operations Center as the agency again on Monday found itself under “red alert” due to an approaching storm.
Tropical storm “Helen” (international name Kai-Tak) has maintained its strength and continued to race towards the already rain-battered northern Luzon.
Several provinces and areas in northern Luzon have been placed under storm signal number 1, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Monday night.
These areas were Quirino, Aurora, Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao, Cagayan including Babuyan and Calayan Group of Islands and Batanes Group of Islands, Pagasa said.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, “Helen” was plotted 430 kilometers east of Casiguran, Aurora, packing winds of 65 kilometers per hours near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.
Helen is expected to be at 210 km east of Tuguegarao, Cagayan by Tuesday afternoon and at 80 km south southwest of Basco, Batanes by Wednesday afternoon.
Estimated rainfall amount is from 15 to 35 millimeters per hour (heavy – torrential) within the 400 km diameter of the Tropical Storm, Pagasa said.
Various agencies were already ordered to prepare for the arrival of “Helen.” The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has prepositioned its heavy equipment in anticipation of possible landslides, the NDRRMC said in its report.
The Ninth Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur has prepositioned three Disaster Response Task Units and 16 military trucks, it said.
Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (RDRRMCs) throughout Luzon have also been placed on heightened alert.