2,031 passengers stranded in Bicol due to TD ‘Carina’

LEGAZPI CITY — Some 2,031 passengers have been stranded in 12 ports across Bicol region as of 12nn Saturday due to tropical depression Carina.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Bicol suspended sailing of all types of sea vessels on Friday after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (Pagasa) raised storm signal number 1 over Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and Sorsogon.

According to Pagasa, TP ‘Carina’ sustained its strength as it moves north northwest at 15 kilometers per hour with maximum winds of 55 kph near the center. As of 10a.m., it was spotted at 175 kms east northeast of Catarman, Northern Samar

Ensign Lear Kenneth Ampalayo, assistant officer-in- charge (OIC) of PCG-Bicol, in a text message, said as of 12 nn, the number of passengers stranded in the 12 ports across the region were: Tabaco port-150, Legazpi-150, Pio Duran-331, Pilar-30, Bulan-18, Matnog-1,132, Bapor-101, San Pascual-15, Mandaon-12, Virac-8, San Andres-13 and Pasacao-53.

He said PCG-Bicol’s suspension order also put on hold at the ports 40 sea vessels and 224 rolling cargoes such as trucks, buses and light vehicles like cars.

Rafael Alejandro, head of the Office of Civil Defense Bicol (OCD), in an interview, said majority of the stranded passengers were bound for the Samar and Leyte provinces while the rest were bound for the island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate.

Alejandro, who is also chairperson of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), urged all local chief executives, especially those in Albay and Catanduanes, to make the necessary preparations because of the expected heavy rains.

He called on the Bicolanos to be “vigilant and to refrain from going out of their houses, especially since there are no classes during the weekend.”

Pagasa estimated the rainfall amount to be from moderate to heavy within the 300-km diameter of the tropical depression.

It also said areas under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) No. 1, the rest of the Visayas and the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate have been alerted against moderate to heavy rains which may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

Other areas under Signal No. 1 include Cagayan, Isabela, Northern Aurora, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Visayas, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, and Samar.

Pagasa also alerted fisherfolk against moderate to rough seas over the eastern seaboard of Luzon and Visayas.

Alejandro said OCD-Bicol reactivated its Operation Center and placed it under “Blue” alert status which means disaster agencies and assets are placed under standby 24/7.

He has issued a disaster bulletin to the six Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils to likewise be on “Blue” alert and closely monitor the weather situation and immediately coordinate with the RDRRMC once the weather condition worsens.

Pagasa said it expects “Carina” to be 215 kilometers east of Casiguran, Aurora within the next 24 hours or by Sunday morning. PNA/northboundasia.com