Southern Mindanao’s disaster response units readied for ‘Ruby’
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte, Philippines – Local disaster response and management authorities in Southern Mindanao have stepped up measures to protect lives and property as Typhoon “Ruby” (Hagupit) moved closer to the Philippines on Thursday.
Disaster response teams have also been mobilized in the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte, even as these areas were commemorating a devastating storm that killed over 1,000 people exactly two years ago.
In Compostela Valley, local disaster management councils in the 11 municipalities have been put on alert as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) included the province on its list of 44 provinces that could be critically affected by heavy to intense rains and up to 170 kilometer-per-hour winds due to “Ruby,” said Fe Maestre, provincial spokesperson.
The municipality of Monkayo, which suffered some 100 dead due to landslides and flooding spawned by “Pablo” (international name: Bopha) in 2012, was not taking chances, with disaster units down to the barangays (villages) being put on alert, Joan Pintal, municipal disaster action officer, said.
“We’re constantly communicating with them through their village officials to prevent undue panic,” Pintal told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by mobile phone, adding that people have not forgotten the devastation left by “Pablo” in 2012. “Our line of communication (with residents) is always open,” she said.
Officials in nearby Davao del Norte province called local disaster officers for a coordination meeting as early as Wednesday, said Redentor Cardinal, action officer for the provincial disaster council.
“Our rescuers, responders and equipment have been placed on standby and are ready for deployment,” Cardinal said.
Police in the region have also been placed on alert, with Chief Supt. Wendy Garcia, Southern Mindanao police chief, inspecting police units in the eastern part of Davao Oriental on Thursday, said Supt. Antonio Rivera, regional police spokesperson.
Garcia has also tapped personnel and other resources for search and rescue operations, particularly in the landslide and flood-prone areas in Davao Oriental and other parts of the region, Rivera said.
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