Metro Manila feels ‘Ruby’ Monday | Inquirer News

Metro Manila feels ‘Ruby’ Monday

Storm leaves at least 10 dead in Visayas
, / 01:21 AM December 08, 2014

POWERLESS IN ALBAY  Motorists pass by fallen electrical posts as strong winds brought by Typhoon “Ruby” hit Camalig town, Albay province. The typhoon knocked out power, mowed down trees and sent more than 650,000 people into shelters in the province before it weakened on Sunday. Metro  Manila will have stormy weather on Monday as Ruby lashes Southern Luzon after whipping the Eastern Visayas and Bicol regions.  AP

POWERLESS IN ALBAY Motorists pass by fallen electrical posts as strong winds brought by Typhoon “Ruby” hit Camalig town, Albay province. The typhoon knocked out power, mowed down trees and sent more than 650,000 people into shelters in the province before it weakened on Sunday. Metro Manila will have stormy weather on Monday as Ruby lashes Southern Luzon after whipping the Eastern Visayas and Bicol regions. AP

MANILA, Philippines–Metro Manila will have stormy weather on Monday as Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit) lashes Southern Luzon after whipping the Eastern Visayas and Bicol regions over the weekend.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) raised Public Storm Signal No. 2 over Metro Manila Sunday, warning of occasional rains and gusty winds of 61-100 kilometers per hour within 24 hours.


Classes are suspended at all levels throughout the metropolis, with school buildings in riverine communities marked for use as evacuation centers in case of flooding.


Pagasa said Metro Manila and surrounding provinces began to feel the effects of Ruby late Sunday.

While Ruby maintained its strength, with winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour, gusts of up to 170 kph, torrential rains and storm surges up to 3 meters high, it also slowed down, crossing the country’s central section and moving toward the West Philippine Sea at just 10 kph.

“The longer the typhoon stays, the more destruction it causes,” Jori Luiz, senior weather forecaster for Pagasa, said.

Ruby moved so slowly that it remained in the vicinity of the island province of Masbate throughout Sunday after making a landfall there at 9 a.m., Pagasa said.

By Monday afternoon, it said the center of the storm would be 70 km east of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro province, or 160 km west of Quezon City, so Metro Manila and surrounding provinces would have heavy rains and strong winds.

By Tuesday afternoon, Ruby will be farther away from the Luzon landmass, with its eye at 170 km southwest of Quezon City.


Pagasa said Ruby was expected to clear the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday.

Storm signals up

At 5 p.m. on Sunday, Pagasa raised the highest Public Storm Warning Signal No. 3 over Masbate (including Ticao and Burias Islands), Marinduque, Romblon and Oriental Mindoro, warning these areas of stormy weather with winds of 101-185 kph in the next 18 hours.

The weather bureau also warned residents against flash floods, landslides and storm surges that could reach up to 3 m high.

Pagasa raised Public Storm Signal No. 2 over Batangas, Sorsogon, Albay, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Lubang Island, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte, Northern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Aklan, Capiz, Northern Cebu including Cebu City, Bantayan Island and Camotes Island.

These places can expect stormy weather with winds of 61 kph to 100 kph in the next 24 hours. Pagasa also warned residents against storm surges that could reach up to 2 m high, flash floods and landslides.

Downgraded from supertyphoon as it roared in from the Pacific Ocean, Ruby made landfall in Eastern Samar on Saturday night.

It smashed into the town of Dolores at 9:15 p.m. with maximum winds of 175 kph and gusts of 210 kph, Pagasa said.

The wind strength at landfall made Ruby the most powerful storm to hit the Philippines this year, exceeding Typhoon “Glenda” (international name: Rammasun), which hit Metro Manila in July and killed 106 people.

Ruby cut across Eastern Visayas at 15 kph, tearing apart homes and sending waves crashing through coastal communities in a region still grappling to recover from devastation caused by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) on Nov. 8 last year.

Learning from that tragedy, however, the region had prepared well for Ruby.

Although Ruby destroyed thousands of homes and caused extensive flooding, it left communities unlittered with bodies, unlike Yolanda, which killed 6,300 people and left thousands of others injured or missing in Eastern Visayas.

10 dead

As of Sunday, only seven deaths had been reported in three towns and one city in Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.

Three other fatalities were reported in Iloilo, mainly due to hypothermia. The youngest of those who died was a 4-month-old infant named Princess Jane Almega, of Sitio (settlement) Pagbalican in Calbayog City, Samar.

Two were killed by falling trees in Dolores and another in Sulat, also in Eastern Samar, and an elderly woman in Catarman town, Northern Samar.

There were no reports of casualties in Masbate as of early night Sunday.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas was amazed at how Dolores survived Ruby, although he was not quite up-to-date with the number of fatalities in the town.

“This is ground zero and we have only one fatality. So this is really about leadership [of the local government],” Roxas told the Inquirer in Dolores on Sunday.

Ruby’s powerful winds, however, left thousands in the northern part of Eastern Samar homeless. Its heavy rains caused extensive flooding, driving more than 300,000 people into evacuation centers. The town of Borongan was deeply flooded, up to nearly 2 meters in some areas.

Initial reports from Dolores showed that 929 of 8,593 houses were destroyed, while 1,105 others were damaged. So far, damage to infrastructure was placed at P800,000.

Ruby was moving slowly, bringing more rainfall and a risk of landslides and flash floods.

Terrified of their experience during Yolanda, more than 600,000 people across the Eastern and Central Visayas fled to evacuation centers before Ruby hit, which UN humanitarian agency spokesman

Denis McClean, speaking from Geneva on Saturday, said was one of the biggest peacetime evacuations in Philippine history—similar to the 1 million people who were moved last year along India’s coastline before Cyclone Phailin struck.

The government, backed by the 120,000-strong military, launched massive preparations to attain a zero-casualty target.

Not like ‘Yolanda’

With 10 dead in Eastern Visayas and in Iloilo, the government failed to attain that goal. But the aftermath was not as horrible as Yolanda.

“There were no bodies scattered on the road, no big mounds of debris,” Rhea Fortuna, a 29-year-old mother of one, said after peering out of an evacuation center in Tacloban City, Leyte province, Sunday. “Thanks to God this typhoon wasn’t as violent.”

But “many houses, especially in the coastal areas, were blown away by strong winds,” Stephanie Uy-Tan, the mayor of Catbalogan City in Samar, said. “Trees and power lines were toppled, tin roofs were blown off and there is flooding.”

Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), said priority was being given to the clearing of main roads and airports in the stricken provinces to clear the way for shipment of relief and equipment.

Ruby made four more landfalls after Dolores: in Cataingan in Masbate, then on Sibuyan Island, Romblon Island and nearby Tablas Island in Romblon province.

Responders were having difficulty in getting to hard-hit areas in Northern and Eastern Samar because toppled trees and electric posts blocked the roads.

As of 6 Sunday night, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar had no electricity following shutdown at the Tongonan power plants that was forced by Ruby.

Power down

According to Cynthia Perez-Alabanza, spokesperson for the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the extent and nature of the damage would not be known until NGCP teams could make inspections starting Monday or when the weather improved.

She said Bohol was also without electricity because the island province was supplied by power plants in Leyte.

Rescue operations in and gathering of information from Northern Samar and Eastern Samar were hampered by poor communications after telecommunication giants Smart Communications Inc., Sun Cellular and Globe Telecommunications lost signal starting 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Yolly Crisanto of Globe said in a text message that the company conducted preventive and maintenance checks, and gave assurance that restoration would start as soon as possible.

In a statement sent to the Inquirer, Ramon Isberto, spokesman for Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), said Smart and Sun continued to operate in most areas affected by Ruby, except in Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.

Despite reports of prepositioning of relief goods by the government, shortages of provisions were reported on Sunday.

Two island towns in Samar—Almagro and Sto. Niño—were asking for help, as their food supplies were good for only one day. Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento of Samar’s first district said provisions would be sent to the two towns as soon as the weather improved.

In Daanbantayan town, Cebu, evacuation centers began to feel a lack of water as the number of evacuees increased on Saturday. Supplies of rice and groceries also began to be depleted as the typhoon moved slowly across the region.

Heide Aplece, municipal social welfare chief, said the local government had asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to send more supplies.

All safe in Masbate

In Masbate, PO3 Zandro Cabintoy, spokesman for the provincial police, said there were no storm surges, as Ruby hit at low tide.

He said only minimal flooding occurred in Masbate City and all roads in the province remained passable. Only the bridges in Pinamarbuhan and Banadero villages in Mobo town were impassable due to flooding caused by heavy rains.

Maj. Gen. Angelo Guzman, spokesman for the military’s Southern Luzon Command, said the combined military and police response units had not received reports of casualties from all provinces in the region.

The units helped to clear roads of storm debris, he said.

Apart from eight houses destroyed by a 3-meter storm surge in Dapdap and Mabuhay villages in Bulusan town, Sorsogon province, Guzman said the military recorded no other destruction of property in the province.

In Albay province, Gov. Joey Salceda sent home by 5 p.m. Sunday all the 124,976 families, or 579,603 people, who were evacuated on Saturday after disaster officials assured him that Ruby posed no more threat to the province.

But classes remained suspended throughout the province due to heavy rains.

Salceda gave assurance that power would be restored in the province on Monday. Power was cut in Albay, Masbate, Sorsogon and Catanduanes on Saturday as precautionary measure.

Central Luzon prepares

In Central Luzon, local governments and government agencies braced for Ruby’s arrival as Pagasa placed Pampanga, Bataan and Bulacan provinces under Public Storm Signal No. 1.

The regional disaster council placed search-and-rescue teams on alert and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) warned of possible landslides in Casiguran and Dingalan towns in Aurora province; Arayat town in Pampanga; and San Marcelino, San Felipe and Castillejos towns in Zambales province. Landslides have been occurring in these areas during strong typhoons since 2004.

Reports said the DSWD had prepared 30,000 food packs for potential evacuees.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) ordered its district offices to preposition heavy equipment to clear roads of storm debris. It reported monitoring landslide-prone areas in Nueva Ecija and Aurora provinces.

The Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division and the Central Luzon police ordered units to be ready to assist local governments in responding to emergencies.

In Angeles City, Pampanga, Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan said residents in 15 villages along Abacan River were advised to move out if rainfall reached 8 millimeters, which could erode the river’s banks and cause floods.

In the city of San Fernando, also in Pampanga, Mayor Edwin Pamintuan said all disaster-response personnel and equipment were ready.

The tail dike in the city was being watched for erosion. Strong rains breached the dike in 2011, flooding the city again after 16 years.—With reports from Marlon Ramos in Eastern Samar; Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon; Maricar Cinco, Ma. April Mier, Michael Jaucian, Shiena Barrameda, Juan Escandor Jr. and Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon; Jennifer Allegado, Joey A. Gabieta, Jani Arnaiz, Connie Fernandez, Nestor P. Burgos Jr. and Carmel Loise Matus, Inquirer Visayas; AP and AFP



‘Ruby’ to make 3rd landfall on Sibuyan Island early Monday

Ruby makes second landfall in Masbate

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No major damage as Ruby weakens

TAGS: Hagupit, Metro Manila, Philippines, Ruby, typhoons, Weather

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