‘Nina’ strands Christmas travelers in N. Samar ports

TACLOBAN CITY — Typhoon Nina has already stranded 1,385 Luzon-bound passengers in Northern Samar as of Saturday morning as authorities cancelled sea travel ahead of the typhoon’s landfall.

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) said that the number of stranded travelers may rise as more people leave their hometowns to spend Christmas Day in Manila and other parts of Luzon.

“Our advice to the public is to postpone their travel plans outside Eastern Visayas on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to avoid being stranded in Northern Samar ports,” said Edgar Posadas, RDRRMC chairman and Office of the Civil Defense regional director.

On Friday night, the state weather bureau raised storm signal warning no. 1 in Northern Samar and Eastern Samar provinces. Samar was added to the list of affected areas on Saturday morning.

Trips have been suspended specifically in Looc and Sta. Clara ports in Allen town and San Isidro town port. Stranded in Northern Samar ports as of Saturday morning were five sea vessels, 41 buses, 80 trucks, and 40 light cars.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office has prepositioned 2,000 food packs in Allen, Northern Samar for stranded passengers. Each pack consists of 3 kg. of rice, coffee, and eight canned goods.

“Since the typhoon is moving slow, it is impossible to lift the suspension of trips on Sunday. It would be better for everyone to stay within the region until after Christmas Day,” Posadas added.

The typhoon has sustained winds of up to 150 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 185 kph. The weather system moves west northwest at 15 kph.

The RDRRMC also asked local government units as early as Friday to disallow fishermen from venturing into sea due to big waves.

As of Saturday noon forecast,’Nina’ has intensified further but slightly slowed down as it continued to move west-northwest.

Estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within the 400-km. diameter of the typhoon. ‘Nina’ is expected to intensify further before making landfall.

It is expected to make landfall over Catanduanes by afternoon or evening of Christmas Day. As of 12 noon on Saturday, the eye of the typhoon was located based on all available data at 445 km. east of Virac, Catanduanes. SARWELL Q. MENIANO/PNA-northboundasia.com