MANILA, Philippines — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) continued to be on red alert on Tuesday, as tropical depression “Quinta” developed into a storm, three weeks since the alert status was raised to its highest level when typhoon Pablo slammed into Eastern Mindanao earlier this month.
“In about 22 hours, the storm will make its landfall. We don’t know if it would change its course and that’s why we are on red alert,” Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said in a press conference at the state weather bureau office.
The death toll from Pablo has reached 1,067 and 834 people were listed missing as of Tuesday, the NDRRMC said in its latest report released on the same day. Most of the casualties are from hard-hit Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.
Damage to agriculture, infrastructure and private properties had reached almost P37 billion, the NDRRMC said.
With “Quinta” now in the Philippine area of responsibility, the state weather bureau in its 5 p.m. update Tuesday placed more areas under storm signals.
Under signal no. 2 were:
Under signal no. 1 were Northern Samar, Masbate, Ticao Island, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros provinces, Siquijor, and the rest of Cebu in the Visayas, and Agusan Del Norte, Agusan Del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, and Surigao Del Sur in Mindanao.
The NDRRMC has instructed its regional and local disaster offices to evacuate people living in low-lying and mountainous areas in the first “severe weather bulletin” it issued at 5 a.m. on Tuesday.
Ramos said the NDRRMC has been on red alert since “Pablo” and has not lowered the alert level because “retrieval, search and relief operations” in the typhoon-ravaged areas were still ongoing.
Ramos said that just like with “Pablo,” the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) under Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia would be at the forefront of providing assistance in areas in Quinta’s path, supported by other military and police units, and the local governments.