NDRRMC advisory: Brace for double whammy of COVID-19, Typhoon Rolly
MANILA, Philippines—The government’s main disaster preparedness agency advised people to exercise extra vigilance against coronavirus while they brace for Typhoon Rolly (international name Goni) or take shelter when the storm, packing winds nearing super typhoon strength, whips their communities.
“What we face today is not only a storm but also COVID-19,” said Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), speaking in Filipino.
“We strongly advise caution against diseases, wearing of face masks and other personal protective equipment, washing hands and heeding physical distancing,” he said.
Evacuation sites, he said, should not be filled to full capacity to allow distancing among those seeking shelter from the typhoon.
Tens of thousands of people were expected to seek shelter in government-designated evacuation sites or camps ahead of Rolly’s landfall. Officials anticipate flooding, landslides and storm surge in areas on the storm’s path.
Government shelters are usually crammed with residents of areas fleeing disasters.
“We call on our countrymen to cooperate and heed warnings and orders for their safety,” Jalad said in Filipino.
“If you have been advised to evacuate, don’t hesitate and proceed to evacuation centers,” he added.
According to its latest track, Rolly would make landfall on the Aurora-Quezon area on Sunday (Nov. 1) evening or early Monday (Nov. 2).
As it continues to gain strength over water, the typhoon is seen to hit land packing winds with speeds ranging from 185 to 215 kph, which could be very destructive.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay directed all AFP units to monitor and prepare for the typhoon.
“The AFP has existing protocols and units to respond to calls for humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” Gapay said.
He said the military’s disaster response units had been trained and equipped to conduct search, rescue and retrieval operations.
It has also prepared vehicles, sea vessels, aircraft, and heavy equipment to transport relief goods, road clearing, and damage assessment.
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