MANILA, Philippines — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) advised local disaster response offices in the Visayas and Mindanao regions to implement preemptive evacuation as typhoon “Pablo” entered the Philippine area of responsibility Sunday night.
With the devastation wrought by tropical storm “Sendong” in December 2011 still fresh in the public’s memory, NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said the new weather disturbance would dump heavy rains in northern and southern Mindanao, and in several parts of the Visayas region.
He said local government units and regional disaster response officials should immediately order preemptive evacuation in low-lying and mountainous areas along the possible path of the typhoon.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said that at 6 p.m. Sunday Pablo entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility, located at 900 km SE of Hinatuan City in Surigao del Sur (6.4°N 135.0°E).
“The task of implementing early evacuation rests on the local government units and their respective disaster response officials. We in the national level may only advise them to prevent (unnecessary loss of lives and properties),” Ramos told the Philippine Daily Inquirer over the phone.
“We always want to be on the side of caution so as to avoid the destruction brought by ‘Sendong’ in Cagayan de Oro City and other areas in Mindanao last year,” he added.
He said the NDRRMC operations center in Camp Aguinaldo has been placed on red alert to be able to deploy all its resources in closely monitoring the typhoon.
He said the disaster response and management councils in six regions in Mindanao and three regions in the Visayas has been meeting since Friday to map out precautionary measures in flood- and landslide-prone areas.
“They should also know the areas where storm surges may possibly occur since ‘Pablo” can bring very strong winds and heavy rains,” Ramos said.
He said residents should listen to the warnings and recommendations of their local officials.
Said Ramos: “We should always strive to be 100 percent prepared for typhoons and not to have any casualties.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy placed 40 of its vessels on standby alert to help the authorities during disaster response operations.
Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay, Navy spokesperson, said 27 disaster response task units of the Navy would be available in carrying out rescue operations in areas affected by the typhoon.