Rainy Christmas looms in Visayas, Mindanao due to LPA

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MANILA, Philippines – A new low pressure area (LPA)  entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) Monday morning and was seen to bring moderate to heavy rains in Eastern Visayas and northeastern Mindanao, the state weather bureau said.

In an interview on Radyo Inquirer 990AM,  Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) head Nathaniel Servando said that the LPA might develop into an “active” LPA and will most likely hit Surigao and Leyte provinces, north of areas devastated by typhoon “Pablo” (international name:  Bopha).

Pablo” hit the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental leaving more than 1,000 persons killed while another 800 were reportedly missing.

Servando said there was no indication yet that the LPA would head for Luzon. He said Pagasa will continue to monitor the trajectory of the LPA and will immediately inform the public of major changes.

In a bulletin, Pagasa said that the LPA is expected to affect Bicol Region, Visayas and Mindanao beginning Monday evening or Tuesday morning. It said that expected landfall would be Tuesday afternoon over Surigao-Leyte area.

Meanwhile, National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Benito Ramos, in a separate radio interview, noted that though the LPA had a slim chance of developing into a storm, it carried with it rains as it is embedded along the intertropical convergence zone or ITCZ.

Ramos said that alert levels in the regions affected had not been lowered, and that responders from local and national government offices were prepared to respond to possible evacuations. He said that local and municipal offices in concerned regions had been duly notified.

Ramos also noted that relief operations continued especially in New Bataan, where debris flow during the height of Typhoon Pablo carved a new river in the middle of the valley that posed a risk to villages in the area.

Ramos noted that he was in the area a few days ago with Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and they saw how significant rainfall could be dangerous to residents in the new area as the river runs across populated areas.

Ramos said they were studying how they could relocate the residents and evacuees and remained in coordination with the local government.

He said that the DSWD was “accountable” and “responsible” in handling local, national, and international relief assistance and support, and that construction of bunk houses for affected residents continued.

Ramos, when asked how he would celebrate Christmas, noted that he would be conducting relief operations at a center.

Ramos said he believes it would be “politically incorrect” for him to sing “videoke” songs, drink beer, or eat lechon when affected residents in Compostela and Davao Oriental continue to suffer.

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