Central Visayas braces for onslaught of Tropical Storm Odette
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Local governments in Central Visayas are preparing for Tropical Storm Odette (international name Rai), which could bring heavy rain and strong winds in the region within the week.
Mayor Michael Rama said there would be a need to implement preventive evacuation for residents living in areas prone to severe flooding and landslides here.
“We will all prepare [to prevent the loss of lives],” he said.
Rama also ordered the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, village responders and police officers to be ready.
Aside from barangay gyms and schools, Rama also asked the Archdiocese of Cebu to allow some evacuees to use church facilities as evacuation centers if needed.
Parts of at least 38 barangays in the city are being closely monitored for flooding as well as about 11 hinterland barangays for possible landslides.
The mayor encouraged people to pray so the tropical depression will spare Cebu and the entire country.
“Let us pray to the Almighty that Odette will just pass and disappear from our skies,” he said.
‘More alert and prepared’
In Bohol, the provincial disaster risk reduction management office is also preparing for Odette to lessen its impact on the province.
Anthony Damalerio, provincial disaster risk reduction management officer, said they would conduct a predisaster risk assessment on Tuesday.
In Candijay town, Jeryl Lacang-Fuentes, chief of municipal disaster risk and reduction management office, said they conducted a massive information drive through the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) to warn people about the weather disturbance.
Landfall on Thursday
“The barangays should be more alert and prepared. We must ensure that all vital aspects of local disaster risk reduction and management are in place,” she said.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Odette might enter the Philippine area of responsibility between Tuesday and Wednesday.
The state weather bureau said Odette, which has maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness up to 70 kph while moving westward at 10 kph, was expected to intensify into a typhoon category before it makes landfall on Thursday.
In Caraga, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council urged the public to limit travel, and to stay home, if possible, as the region prepares for Odette.
In an advisory issued to all the provincial, city, town and barangay disaster management councils in the region, Liza Mazo, chair of the Caraga DRRMC, Mazo asked travelers to lessen or limit travel by land or by sea to Caraga to avoid congesting points of entries to the region.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, acting presidential spokesperson, on Monday said in a statement that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council was already “making the necessary preparations” in coordination with its regional and local counterparts to ensure the safety of the public.
—WITH REPORTS FROM JEROME ANING AND CHRIST PANGANIBAN
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