Evacuations ordered as ‘Amang’ nears landfall
Authorities have ordered mandatory evacuations in areas prone to floods and landslides, and the suspension of classes in Bicol region, particularly in Camarines Sur and Albay provinces, as Tropical Depression “Amang” approaches the country from the Pacific Ocean.
Amang, packing sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour and gusts of 60 kph, was expected to make landfall in mainland Surigao del Norte or Siargao Island by Sunday night, meteorologists said.
It was moving west-northwest at 30 kph and expected to be near Barugo, Leyte province, on Monday afternoon, and 60 km northeast of Lapu-Lapu City on Tuesday afternoon.
Some towns in Camarines Sur and Albay are still recovering from heavy flooding and landslides caused by Tropical Depression “Usman” that left scores dead and missing in late December last year.
In Camarines Sur, the remaining residents of Sitio Garang at Barangay Patitinan in Sagñay town were evacuated on Saturday. Thirty-one died and 15 went missing in the town in December.
Signal No. 1
Landslide brought about by Amang’s heavy rain destroyed a 55-meter stretch of the Davao-Butuan highway in Monkayo town, Compostela Valley, on Friday, according to Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy.
It toppled three electric posts, disrupting power supply in parts of Monkayo.
Signal No. 1 was raised in the provinces of Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, eastern Bohol, northern Cebu, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands and Camiguin, according to a bulletin issued by the weather bureau on Sunday afternoon.
These areas should expect sustained winds of 30 to 60 kph within 36 hours.
Classes have been suspended at all levels in public and private schools in Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon.
The Albay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office has directed all 18 towns and city disaster councils to implement mandatory evacuation in villages threatened by flooding and landslides, said Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo).
The mandatory evacuation targeted 58,614 families in flood-prone villages and 21,620 families in landslide-prone villages.
Prone to flooding
A total of 242 villages are flood-prone while 99 villages are landslide-prone in the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao, and the towns of Tiwi, Malinao, Bacacay, Polangui, Libon and Manito, according to Apsemo.
In Guinobatan town, Albay, residents of villages at the foot of Mayon volcano, which are vulnerable to mud or lahar flow, were transferred to the town center.
Preemptive evacuations were also implemented in Polangui, Libon and Tiwi.
In Eastern Visayas, local governments have been advised to evacuate residents in areas highly vulnerable to flooding and landslide, and to tell fishermen not to venture to open seas. —Reports from Vince F. Nonato, Mar S. Arguelles, Ma. April Mier-Manjares, Stephanie Florida, Rey Anthony Ostria, Michael Jaucian, Joey Gabieta and Frinston Lim
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