MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday assured the public of the government’s readiness to face supertyphoon “Yolanda” which will directly hit Samar and Leyte at midnight.
Aquino said in a televised speech that the country’s C130 aircrafts are fully mission capable to respond to those in need, adding that 32 airplanes and helicopters from the Air Force are on standby together with the Philippine Navy’s 20 ships which are positioned in Cebu, Bicol, Cavite and Zamboanga.
He said that relief goods are also pre-positioned in many of the areas expected to be affected by the supertyphoon.
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils, both national and local, have also been activated to mitigate the effects of the typhoon.
“Yolanda” is expected to bring winds and rain stronger than “Pablo,” the last supertyphoon to hit the Philippines with wind speeds up to 280 kilometers per hour.
With a 600-kilometer diameter, the storm will most likely hit the provinces of Samar, Leyte, Masbate, Cebu, Panay, Romblon, Mindoro, and Palawan before leaving the Philippine area of responsibility Saturday evening.
Aquino warned the public of strong winds, rain and overflowing of bodies of water, in addition to the possibility of lahar and mudflows near Mayon and Bulusan volcanoes.
“Storm surges in Ormoc, Ginayangan Ragay Gulf in Albay and Lamon Bay in Atimonan will bring grave danger. And waves in these areas may reach up to five to six meters high,” Aquino said.
The President advised Filipinos to monitor the websites of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and Project NOAH to determine which communities will be affected by the storm.
“Let this be a warning to local government units: Your constituents are facing grave danger. Let us do all we can while ‘Yolanda’ has yet to make landfall,” he said.
Aquino asked the public to remain calm and to cooperate.
“Coordinate with and follow authorities. Evacuate if your area is in danger. To those near the shore: do not head towards the open sea,” he said.
Aquino said Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II are in Leyte to supervise preparations when the storm makes landfall in the province.