MANILA, Philippines–The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council is monitoring a tropical storm with the international name “Bopha” as it could bring more rains than last year’s “Sendong,” which left a trail of destruction in Mindanao–especially in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities–and the Visayas.
Undersecretary Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, told reporters Thursday that Bopha has hit Chuuk Island in the Federated States of Micronesia and was headed to the island country of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean.
The storm is still 1,600 kilometers away east of Mindanao but its size—400 to 500 km in diameter—is what worries Ramos.
“A picture tells a thousand words,” Ramos told reporters as he showed them the satellite imagery of Bopha, which would be known as “Pablo” once it enters the Philippine area of responsibility.
“It is possible that the storm could [intensify] and bring more rains than Sendong did,” Ramos said.
Sendong triggered killer floods that left nearly a thousand people dead and several villages destroyed when it slammed into eastern Mindanao, just a week before Christmas last year, with Cagayan de Oro and Iligan as the hardest hit areas.
Ramos said the two cities would again be in the path of the expected storm. Also likely to be hit is Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur.
“As early as now, we are alerting the areas that could be affected by the storm. This is for the awareness of our countrymen. Let it not be said that the government or the media did not warn you,” Ramos said.
The new storm would be the 16th weather disturbance to hit the country this year. The Philippines gets an average of 20 tropical storms per year.