Wednesday, November 6, 2013

PAGASA official tells Bicolanos to brace for ‘Yolanda’
By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 5 (PNA) -- A repetition of the catastrophic typhoons “Milenyo” or “Reming” that hit Bicol seven years ago might take place again in the region if tropical depression “Yolanda” will not change course.

With this possible scenario, a Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) official advised the Bicolanos to prepare before the tropical depression makes a landfall.

“Prepare and pray. Friday and Saturday is the most critical time for Bicol region,” said Jun Dalida, chief of the PAGASA Southern Luzon Bureau based in this city.

Typhoon Milenyo devastated Bicol, specifically Albay and Sorsogon, on October 28, 2006.

In less than a month, or on November 30, 2006, supertyphoon “Reming” unleashed its wrath on Albay province, killing 1,500 people.

Reming left tens of thousands of families homeless and billions of devastation to government and private infrastructures, including agriculture.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda also asked the Albayanos and disaster responders to be prepared against the looming disaster to prevent the repetition of Milenyo and Reming, thus, attain the zero casualty goal of the provincial government should Yolanda continue to intensify in the country.

“Our country is facing possibly the most stormy week since Reming/Milenyo. Let us continue praying that we be spared so Bicol would have its second typhoon-free year. But now is time to prepare. We ask Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils and municipal and city disaster officials to start reviewing their response strategies to the impact of hazards floods, flash floods, landslides, storm surges and strong winds on exposed households and critical resources,” the governor said in his advisory through his social networking site or Facebook.

“Households near riverbanks, lahar and mountain slopes should start preparing their evacuation kits and familiarize with their evacuation routes and evacuation camps. Newly elected officials begin their term on November 30 so incumbents are persuaded to collaborate for the sake of zero casualty,” the governor said in his advisory.

Salceda, newly appointed as UN advisor to the US$ 100-billion Climate Fund for developing countries said Tropical Depression Wilma is somewhere in northern Mindanao, not yet a storm, but TD 31 (Yolanda) is a monster and it has been long since forecasters have agreed on a consensus.

Tropical depression Yolanda is packing 222 kph with possible landfall on Friday, Nov. 8, four days from now and is on its course between Southern Luzon and Visayas.

The developing weather disturbance east of Mindanao is expected to intensify into a typhoon to be named Wilma.

It is likely to veer more to the west and may hit Southern Luzon and/or the Visayas area on Nov. 8.

Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council headed by Office of Civil Defense Bicol Regional Director Bernardo Rafaelito “Raffy” Alejandro called an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon to look into the preparations of disaster responders against Yolanda. (PNA) LAP/FGS/RBB/CBD/