Frantic preparatons vs ‘Ruby’ nationwide PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 December 2014 14:55

With monster typhoon Haiyan’s devastating effects still fresh in the minds of Filipinos, another super typhoon called Hagupit (local name Ruby), possibly with equal strength, has sent widespread fear in thePhilippines as it is projected to make a landfall Saturday night.

From northeastern Mindanao, central part and up to the northern section of the Philippines, government agencies and private groups on Friday frantically took actions and measures to deal with the storm and mitigate its impact on the people,

In a statement, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that 27 Navy ships and 12 military aircraft were placed on stand-by for possible humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions.

All available military land mobility assets were also alerted, the NDRRMC said in its Friday update.

These assets will be deployed to help provincial and local disaster risk response units if needed.

At least 36 areas in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao have been placed under public storm warning signal (PSWS) as typhoon Hagupit maintains its strength while continuing to move west-northwest toward Samar province, said  the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Friday.

PAGASA weather observer Lenny Ruiz said the estimated rainfall amount is from 7.5 to 20 millimeters per hour (heavy to intense) within the 700-km diameter of the typhoon.

Ruiz said that as of 11 a.m. Friday, the eye of typhoon “Ruby” was located based on all available data at 410 km east of Borongan, Eastern Samar (11.8°N, 129.2°E) packed with maximum sustained winds of 215 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 250 kph. It is forecast to move west- northwest at 13 kph.

Ruiz said if it maintains its speed and movement, typhoon Hagupit is expected to make landfall on Saturday night over the Eastern Samar-Northern Samar area and it will be associated with strong winds, storm surge (4-5 meters) and heavy-intense rainfall.

He said Typhoon Hagupit and the Northeast Monsoon will bring rough to very rough sea conditions over the seaboards of Northern Luzon, eastern seaboard of Central and Southern Luzon, seaboards of the Visayas and northern and eastern seaboards of Mindanao.

”Fisherfolks and those using small seacraft are advised not to venture out over the said seaboards,” Ruiz said.

The military said all unified commands have been ordered to alert their disaster response task units (DRTUs) from their respective divisions, brigades, battalions, and down to company levels for possible humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions.

Major Emmanuel Garcia, 7th Civil Relations Group commander, said in a statement to media, the orders are for the Southern Luzon Command, Eastern Mindanao Command, and Central Command which are in the areas to be affected by “Ruby.”

He added that these units are also ordered to coordinate with various local government units (LGUs) and representatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other government line agencies in their areas of responsibilities for HADR, leveling and rationalization and pre-positioning of equipment and supplies before the arrival of the typhoon.

NDRRMC) said that search-and-rescue groups have been organized alongside with the pre-positioning of emergency equipment and supplies.

Aside from this, the Central Command also pre-positioned air and naval assets that may be used for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

In line this, the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade has already activated five disaster response units, 71 personnel,and 13 military trucks for rescue missions.

Thousands of people have been evacuated to schools and churches in provinces and cities where Hagupit is projected to hit strong and hard.

In the province of Albay, where a restive volcano has been threatening to erupt since October, 500,000 people are to be be evacuated, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) disclosed in a meeting Friday morning.

Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda, PDRRMC chairman, said those who will be evacuated are under the threat of flooding, landslides, mud and lahar flows, storm surges and strong winds.

The half-a-million individuals belong to about 128,217 families.

Hagupit is seen by local officials as like typhoon “Reming” that wrought havoc in 2006 in the Bicol Region, where many died and they are bracing up for Hagupit so that no life will be endangered or lost and the zero-casualty goal of the province is achieved.

The Philippine Catholic Church through its social action arm, NASSA/Caritas Philippines, has started its pre-disaster preparedness measures for the possible onslaught of Hagupit.

In a statement tomedia, NASSA/Caritas Philippines said it has initially released P2-million from the local church’s emergency funds called “Alay Kapwa” and other local and non-Caritas Internationalis funds for the purchase of relief goods, which were now pre-positioned in possible typhoon-hit areas.

The United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), estimates at 5.36 million the families to be affected by the incoming super typhoon.