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‘Amang’ evacuations in 9 provinces; lahar warning up

More than 16,000 people in Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate provinces were moved to safer ground after authorities ordered preemptive evacuations as Tropical Depression “Amang” threatened to bring rains to the Bicol region, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said on Monday.

Preemptive evacuations were also conducted in Eastern Samar, Agusan del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

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While only light to moderate rains were forecast in the provinces of Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon and Northern Samar, residents at high risk of flooding and landslides were still advised to take appropriate actions to ensure their safety.

As part of the precautionary measures, classes were called off in Bicol and Eastern Visayas on Monday.

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Weather specialist Aldczar Aurelio said the heavy downpour from the storm was falling on the seas, as most of its thick clouds were still above the waters.

At 4 p.m. on Monday, Amang was 105 kilometers east of Catarman, Northern Samar. It packed maximum winds of 45 kph near the center and gusts of 60 kph.

Expected to weaken

It was forecast to be moving north at 10 kph and expected to be 175 km east of Juban, Sorsogon, on Tuesday afternoon.

Amang is expected to weaken into low pressure, although its winds have raised storm warnings in several provinces, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

In a bulletin issued at 5 p.m. on Monday, the weather bureau said the country’s first tropical cyclone for 2019 had slowed down over Eastern Samar and was expected to weaken in the next 12 hours.

Signal No. 1

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Aurelio said Amang was being affected by northeast monsoon winds and the tailend of the cold front.

But Signal No. 1 was raised over several provinces, including Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Sorsogon and Masbate, including Ticao Island.

As of 12 noon, the OCD in Bicol said 2,319 families (8,319 people) had been evacuated in Albay, 1,744 families (7,613 people) in Camarines Sur, 34 families in Masbate and 25 in Sorsogon.

Claudio Yucot, director of the OCD in Bicol, said the evacuated families lived in areas vulnerable to flood and landslides.

Close to 1,700 passengers at ports in Sorsogon and Masbate, and 1,083 passengers at ports in Allen and San Isidro towns in Northern Samar were stranded because boats were barred from going out to sea, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

In Sorsogon, 1,468 passengers were stranded at the Matnog port, 40 in Bulan and 15 in Pilar, the PCG said.

There were also 24 buses, 199 trucks and 41 cars at the Matnog port.

Mt. Bulusan

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), meanwhile, has advised communities living around Bulusan Volcano to be vigilant and ready as rains brought by Amang may trigger lahar flow and flash floods.

In Northern Samar, Rei Josiah Echano, provincial disaster risk reduction management officer, said 62 families were moved to evacuation centers.

In San Francisco town, Southern Leyte, a 9-year-old boy, Santino Alfreda, who was reported to have drowned in a river at Bongbong village on Sunday afternoon, was found and rescued on Monday morning.

The eastern part of Bohol province was placed under Storm Signal No. 1, prompting the cancellation of sea travel at several ports in Ubay, Getafe, Talibon and Jagna towns on Sunday morning. —Reports from Jhesset O. Enano, Julie M. Aurelio, Mar S. Arguelles, Rey Anthony Ostria, Joey Gabieta, Robert Dejon and Leo Udtohan

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TAGS: Evacuations, Office of Civil Defense, Philippine weather, Tropical Depression Amang
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