Mass evacuation ready | Inquirer News

Mass evacuation ready

Aquino activates all disaster councils

AFFECTED AREAS Expected path of Supertyphoon “Yolanda”

President Aquino on Wednesday activated all local and municipal disaster councils as hundreds of thousands of people were readied for evacuation in the Bicol region in preparation for the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) is forecast to enter the Philippine area of responsibility early Thursday.


With peak winds of up to 175 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 210 kph, Yolanda is expected to make a landfall in the Samar-Leyte area on Friday.


Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. presided over a meeting of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) at military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday for a discussion of preparations for the approaching typhoon.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, vice chair of the NDRRMC, alerted all provincial and local officials in Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Masbate, Samar, Leyte, Biliran, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan provinces to be ready to respond to emergencies.

Civil defense officials in the Bicol region said nearly half a million people living in coastal communities and 1.2 million people living in areas prone to landslides would be evacuated on Thursday in preparation for Yolanda.

Bernardo Alejandro, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) director in Bicol, said 498,331 persons would be evacuated in Bicol to save them from landslides, while 232,197 persons would be moved to save them from flooding.

National officials were specially worried about the provinces of Cebu and Bohol, which suffered great devastation from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas on Oct. 15.

Tens of thousands of people displaced by the quake in the two provinces are still living in tents at evacuation centers.


Most of the evacuees are in Bohol, epicenter of the quake.

Better shelters

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said at the NDRRMC meeting that officials were looking for better shelters for the evacuees.

Roxas said the evacuees would be transferred to “concrete structures” within the next 48 hours.

Soliman said the evacuees should have been moved by the time Yolanda starts to bring rains to the region on Friday.

Ochoa said the public should be concerned because Yolanda was “quite a strong typhoon.”

Regions to be hit

Quoting forecasters of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Malacañang said Yolanda had a 600-km diameter and powerful winds and it was expected to bring torrential rains that could cause flooding and landslides.

Malacañang spokesman Hermino Coloma said only the northern and southern tips of the country would not be affected by the typhoon.

To be hit are San Fernando in La Union province, Casiguran in Aurora province, Central Luzon, Metropolitan Manila, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), Bicol and “the whole of the Visayas and almost the entire island of Mindanao,” Coloma told reporters.

The government is asking the press to publish information that will help people prepare for the typhoon, Coloma said.

He said President Aquino would play a “hands-on” role to ensure “zero casualty” from Yolanda.

Metro preparations

In the National Capital Region, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino called on local governments to activate their disaster councils.

Tolentino assured Metro Manila residents that all 51 pumping stations of the MMDA in the metropolis were working and ready for flooding.

In Calabarzon, disaster officials were monitoring 84 towns prone to landslides and flooding.

They advised local officials to begin emergency preparations.

In Albay province, Gov. Joey Salceda ordered 665,433 people living in coastal villages in 14 towns and three cities evacuated.

First to be evacuated were 320,701 people living in coastal communities, Salceda said.

Cebu, Bohol landslides

Local governments in provinces in the Visayas that are on the path of Yolanda prepared to respond, with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) warning of landslides in the provinces of Cebu and Bohol.

MGB Director for Central Visayas Loreto B. Alburo said Wednesday that landslides could hit Bohol, where the earthquake had exposed more than 100 sinkholes.

The agency also said 80 villages in Cebu and one city and 13 towns in Bohol were vulnerable to landslides because of numerous “tension cracks” caused by the earthquake.

In Cebu, at risk are 19 villages of Cebu City, six villages in Naga City, 11 in Balamban town, five in Toledo City, one in Panamungajan town, five in Asturias, 12 in Dumanjug and one in Ronda.

In Bohol, vulnerable to landslides are Tagbilaran City and the towns of Baclayon, Corella, Cortes, Alburquerque, Panglao, Dauis, Loon, Calape, Catigbian, Balilihan, Batuan, Sagbayan and Carmen.

Citing information from Pagasa, Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto said Yolanda was expected to hit the towns of Pitogo, Alicia, Trinidad and Ubay.

Chatto said he had ordered the suspension of classes at all school levels beginning Thursday, and called off work starting Friday.

Classes suspended

In Cebu, classes on Thursday and Friday have been suspended.

However, there is work at the provincial capitol on Thursday. In Cebu City, there will be no work at City Hall, but some workers will report to provide frontline services, according to Mayor Michael Rama.

In Eastern Visayas, classes have been suspended at all levels in Southern Leyte.

The military and the police are on full alert and ready to respond to emergencies, officials said.

In western Visayas, Rosario Cabrera, chief of the regional disaster council, said evacuation centers and relief stocks had been prepared for  residents expected to be evacuated from areas prone to flooding and landslides.

The Department of Public Works and Highways in the region has been alerted to a possible need for heavy equipment to carry evacuees and to clear roads of fallen trees and landslides.

‘Pray hard’

With Yolanda expected to hit the northern part of Negros Occidental province, Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said the provincial and local governments were on “high alert.”

Marañon, however, called on the people of the province to pray that Yolanda changes its direction.

Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon, whose province was devastated by Typhoon “Pablo” last year, had an advice to people in the provinces on the path of Yolanda: “Pray hard.”—With reports from Marlon Ramos and Niña P. Calleja in Manila; Mar Arguelles, Shiena Barrameda, Fernan Gianan, Maricar Cinco and Madonna Virola, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Joey Gabieta, Jani Arnaiz, Nestor Burgos, Doris Bongcac, Carla Gomez, Carmel Loise Matus and Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas; and Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao




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