Thousands in Visayas heed evacuation call ahead of ‘Pablo’
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines–Thousands of residents in Tacloban City, Leyte and St. Bernard, Southern Leyte were evacuated as a preemptive measure even as heavy rains spawned by Typhoon “Pablo” started pouring in various areas in the Visayas.
In other areas like Bacolod City, residents in coastal areas have packed their belongings to prepare for evacuation should Pablo dump heavy rains and cause storm surges.
Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said that about 247 families or about 1,214 persons from seven barangays were preemptively evacuated since Monday night and taken to the Tacloban City Convention Center.
Romualdez said that by doing the preemptive evacuation, none of the residents of the villages, which are all located along the coast, would put in harm’s way due to Pablo.
Karen Baynadaca of Barangay 90, of Tacloban City, said that she heeded the call of the city government to temporary leave their house to ensure the safety of her family.
“We just brought our personal belongings. My husband, Ronnie, chose to stay at our home to guard our other belongings,” the 25-year-old mother of two children said.
In Southern Leyte, more than 764 families were evacuated to designated centers and public school building due to … Pablo,” said Marichu Tan, head of the province’s Office of the Civil Defense.
The evacuees from Sogod (86 families), St. Bernard (500), Limasawa (123), Padre Burgos (15), Pintuyan (24), Hinundayan (16) and Maasin City (30), Tan said.
In Negros Oriental, residents prepared for typhoon’s onslaught by stocking up on supplies such as food, water, snacks, flashlights and batteries.
The local officials of the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Cebu also implemented preemptive evacuation of families living beside creeks and rivers and in landslide-prone areas.
In Dumaguete City, however, the threat of the typhoon leaving families homeless has been minimized as most of the victims of Tropical Storm “Sendong,” which struck Mindanao and Visayas the same month last year, have been relocated to safer ground.
In Barangay Banago, Bacolod City about 500 residents lived in areas often hit by flash floods, said village secretary Dionisio de la Cruz. Two schools and a church have been opened for possible evacuation site and vehicles are on standby, he added.
Light to heavy rain poured in various areas in the Visayas on Tuesday.
Southern Leyte, especially the Panaon areas and those facing the Pacific Ocean, experienced heavy rains.
However, the wind was not strong even if the province has been placed under typhoon signal number 3, said Elfledo Hernandez of the Southern Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
While Cebu just experienced light to moderate rains and winds on Tuesday morning, officials were worried that the worst would happen in the afternoon or in the evening.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Visayas, some cottages located in a beach resort on Divinobo island in Borongan City, Eastern Samar were destroyed due to the storm surge, said provincial disaster risk reduction management chief Peregrino Balase.
Otherwise, everything was “normal” in the province, Balase said.
“There is no report of evacuation nor any flooding or landslide incidents in any part of the province,” Balase said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
The same was true in Samar, which was only experiencing scattered rain shower, according Judy Bantulan, provincial director of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
In Capiz, authorities remained on alert although the weather bureau has lowered the typhoon signal in the province from two to one.
On the other hand, more than 500 passengers were stranded in various ports in Southern Leyte (105), Leyte (104), Samar (20), Northern Samar (72) and Cebu (219) as the Coast Guard has prevented sea vessels of all types and sizes from sailing.
Almost all provincial flights at the Mactan Cebu International Airport were canceled due to bad weather but the flights of Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific to and from Manila remained normal, according to MCIA public affairs manager Mary Ann Dimabayao.
Dimabayao said 17 round trip flights of Airphil Express and 13 round trip flights Cebu Pacific flights. These flights are supposedly to and from Davao City, Tacloban City, Cagayan de Oro City, Iloilo City, Butuan City, Ozamis City, Kalibo in Aklan, Pagadian City, Surigao City, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan and General Santos City.
Air Philippines flights to and from Hong Kong were also suspended, but the Cathay Pacific flight to and from Hong Kong, as well as the flights to and from Singapore and Inchun, Korea remained normal. Reports from Jani Arnaiz, Joey Gabieta, Carla Gomez, Jhunnex Napallacan and Felipe Celino, Inquirer Visayas
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