By Manny Mogato
DECEMBER 2, 2019 – Disaster and local authorities have started evacuating thousands of residents in coastal and flood and landslide-prone areas in the Bicol region as a powerful typhoon approaches and expected to slam into the main Luzon island on Monday night or early Tuesday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.
Schools and offices in the Bicol region and domestic flights to and from the coconut-producing region had been cancelled.
Sea travel was also suspended as more than 2,000 commuters were stranded in Sorsogon.
Ricardo Jalad, NDRRMC executive director, said preemptive evacuation have started on Catanduanes island and in the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon as the weather bureau raised public storm alerts.
Catanduanes is now under signal number 3. Eighteen areas are under public storm signal 2 and 30 others are on signal number 1.
Typhoon Tisoy, which is known internationally as Kammuri, packing sustained center winds of 150 kph and gustiness of up to 185 kph, is moving west at 20 kph is about 355 kms east of Virac, Catanduanes as of 4 a.m on Monday, the weather bureau said.
On Tuesday morning, Tisoy is expected to be within Camarines Sur and after 48 hours it is to around Subic in Zambales
“Preemptive evacuation was one of the preparedness measures to be undertaken by local chief executives,” Jalad said, adding local authorities were supposed to force residents to flee their homes days before Tisoy’s landfall.
About 1,500 families in Catanduanes have moved in land to safer temporary shelter areas and another 5,000 families in the Camarines areas. There were no known number of evacuees in Albay and Sorsogon provinces.
Jalad said they are expecting strong winds and moderate to heavy rains due to Tisoy.
“Destruction of houses made of light materials due to strong winds, flashfloods in the flood prone areas and low lying areas and landslides in upland areas and of course storm surge in the coastal areas (up to four meters), those are worst case scenarios we’re preparing for,” said Jalad.
Jalad said the NDRRMC and its field units are prepared for Tisoy, saying they have prepositioned personnel and assets for search and rescue operations as well as relief goods and medicines. Emergency teams were on standby to clear roads of debris, restore power and communications in the affected areas.
At least 1,964 barangays in mountainous areas are highly susceptible to landslide while 5,345 barangays are highly susceptible to flooding in Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Cordillera Administrative Region, Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol regoon, Western Visayas and Central Visayas, based on records from the NDRRMC.
AFP chief Gen. Noel Clement has also activated the Battle Staff in Camp Aguinaldo “to monitor how the typhoon will impact on the ground and to render immediate assistance as needed.”
AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said military Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) units are already on alert for Typhoon Tisoy.
“While we’re all hopeful and prayerful that there will be zero casualty, a lot depends upon the cooperation of everyone,” Arevaldo said.
“Evacuate when advised to do so before the onslaught of the typhoon– not at the time when the demands for assistance are high and the responders can only accommodate so many. Let us all cooperate to prevent casualties and minimize the damage of typhoon Tisoy.”
Classes in all levels in some parts in Metro Manila have been suspended due to typhoon Tisor and the ongoing 30th Southeast Asian Games. Water sports events in Subic were also cancelled due to the typhoon.