Surge warning up in Cebu-A A +A
Saturday, February 1, 2014
CEBU CITY -- Local government units in Cebu were told to watch out for storm surges, flashfloods and landslides as Tropical Storm Basyang hits the island today, February 1.
At least 1,188 passengers were stranded after vessels were barred from leaving on Friday from Cebu, one of 21 provinces where public storm signal number two was raised at 5:30 p.m.
The weather bureau warned coastal residents to evacuate, as storm surges with waves up to five or six meters high could roll in. Among the areas at risk are provinces that, less than three months ago, Typhoon Yolanda battered.
The Cebu Capitol’s disaster council assured that relief goods, equipment and other emergency supplies were in position, but that local officials should take the lead in their communities.
“The local government unit concerned in the towns, they should take the lead because they are the first responders,” said Neil Angelo Sanchez of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRM).
As of 10 last night, the government’s weather bureau said that Basyang was in the vicinity of Ubay, Bohol, with maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gusts of up to 80 kph.
It was expected to bring moderate to heavy rains, or five to 15 millimeters of rainfall per hour.
Evangeline Tolentino, weather specialist in the Mactan, Cebu Station of Pagasa, said that Basyang was expected to hit southern Cebu this dawn. Pagasa stands for the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
As of 5:30 p.m. Friday, Cebu was placed under public storm signal number two, which meant that 61-100 kph winds could be expected within 24 hours.
Signal No. 2
Other areas under storm signal two are Iloilo, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Siquijor, Guimaras, Bohol, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, Camotes Islands, Camiguin, Dinagat Province, Surigao del Norte (including Siargao Islands), and the northern part of Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Norte.
Storm signal number one was raised in Masbate, Palawan, Calamian Islands, Northern Samar, Biliran, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, northern part of Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Norte and the rest of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.
These areas were expected to experience 30-60 kph winds in the next 36 hours.
Tolentino said that residents in affected coastal areas should be alert against storm surges of five to six meters high.
She said Basyang was expected to leave Philippine territory on Sunday afternoon.
Classes in elementary and high school, both private and public, in the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu are cancelled today.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza instructed the City Network for Early Response on the Verge of Emergency to warn all coastal barangays.
No preemptive evacuation was carried out as of yesterday, but Radaza ordered barangay officials to be on alert.
In the first district, however, forced evacuations were ordered in coastal barangays.
Garry Cabotaje, City of Naga public information officer, said the social welfare unit immediately went to the coastal barangays, urging residents to head for the Enan Chiong Activity Center located in Barangay South Poblacion.
Residents of riverside and mountain barangays were also urged to evacuate, considering the risk of landslides and flashfloods, Cabotaje said.
In Talisay City, officials also persuaded residents of six coastal barangays to evacuate to safer areas, due to the threat of a storm surge.
Vince Monterde, Talisay City public information officer, said that he and Mayor Johnny de los Reyes went to the coastal and mountain barangays to warn residents about Basyang.
Monterde, who is also the city’s local disaster officer, said that residents in the coastal barangays were ordered to stay in evacuation centers like the Talisay City Sports Complex in Barangay Poblacion and the Talisay City Hall motor pool.
Engr. Oscar Tabada of the Pagasa Mactan station had warned them about the possibility of a storm surge and that the sea level would rise by about 1.38 meters last night, Monterde said.
Coastal areas in Talisay City are Poblacion, Cansojong, Pooc, Dumlog, Biasong, Tanke and San Roque.
In Minglanilla, Mayor Lani Pena ordered the immediate evacuation of residents in four coastal barangays: Tungkil, Calajoan, Tulay and Tungkop.
Pena added that local officials have also prepared evacuation areas like the Minglanilla Sports Complex and the Lipata National High School. A multipurpose building belonging to the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish may also be used as an evacuation center.
In Carcar City, officials urged residents in coastal and riverside areas to evacuate for their safety.
In a text message to Sun.Star Cebu, Carcar City Councilor Anthony John Apura said the City’s emergency supplies and equipment were ready.
The Capitol, for its part, has identified at least 22 areas that are prone to landslides and floods.
These are Argao, Alcoy, Boljoon, Carcar City, Carmen, Catmon, Compostela, Consolacion, Dalaguete, Danao, Liloan, Madridejos, Malabuyoc, Mandaue City, Naga City, Oslob, Pinamungahan, San Fernando, Sibonga, Sogod and Talisay City.
Sanchez said that the police were also told to monitor hazard-prone areas.
Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Evelyn Senajon said the Capitol has enough around 2,000 sacks of rice in its warehouse, along with canned goods, used clothing, bed sheets and tents.
For the Coast Guard, the priority was to keep at least 33 passenger and cargo vessels from leaving the port.
“We could not risk the safety of the passengers and the crew. So, we are canceling all operations,” said Commander Rodolfo Villajuan of Philippine Coast Guard Cebu Station.
The M/V St. Pope John Paul II, carrying 844 passengers, cut shorts its trip to Cagayan de Oro and turned back.
Among the vessels that were kept from sailing yesterday were Oceanjet from Cebu to Ormoc; Starcraft 6 from Cebu to Tubigon; Starcraft 5 and Clemer 8 from Cebu to Getafe, Bohol; Lite Ferry 5 from Cebu to Tagbilaran, Bohol; Lite Jet from Cebu to Tubigon, Bohol; and Lite Ferry 25 and 20 from Mandaue to Tubigon, Bohol.
In Danao City, Mika Mari, Mika Mari III and Mika Mari V, bound for Consuelo, Camotes; and Melrivic 1 and Melrivic 2, bound for Isabel, Leyte, were canceled.
Nine trips from Hagnaya, San Remigio to Sta. Fe, Bantayan; and five trips from Tangil, Dumanjug to Basak and Bulado, Negros Oriental; and four trips from Toledo City to San Carlos, Negros Occidental were also suspended. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 01, 2014.