Western Visayas on ‘blue alert’ due to ‘Samuel’

Western Visayas on ‘blue alert’ due to ‘Samuel’

ILOILO CITY — The Office of Civil Defense 6 (Western Visayas) has raised the “blue alert” status in the entire region due to Tropical Depression “Samuel”, which is expected to directly affect the region in the coming days.

Various member agencies of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in Western Visayas (RDRRMC-6) gathered in a pre-disaster risk assessment (PDRA) on Monday to lay down plans for the preparedness, prevention, and mitigation.

In an interview, Jose Roberto Nuñez, Regional Director of the Office of Civil Defense 6 who presided the PDRA, said the move is a precautionary measure to prepare the public for possible floods and landslides due to heavy rains as Samuel is also expected to intensify into a tropical storm.

He said they are targeting zero casualty until Samuel left the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this week.

“We are now 100-percent prepared and we are continuously monitoring our areas of responsibility here especially those villages in low-lying areas,” he said.

Nuñez further said they are currently focusing on the province of Guimaras because Samuel is expected to make a landfall in the island province on November 21.

Based on the 11 a.m. advisory of RDRRMC-6, Samuel has a maximum sustained wind of 55 kilometers (km) per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 65 km per hr.

Ronaldo Naragdao, Weather Specialist I of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in Iloilo, noted that Samuel is weaker than the previous typhoons that hit the country like ‘Ompong.’

He noted that Samuel is the 19th typhoon that entered the country this year.

“We expect moderate to heavy rains so, we advised households prone to landslides to be prepare and evacuate if possible,” he said.

Meantime, Anthony Nuyda, Regional Director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government 6 (DILG-6), said they already issued a memorandum order to all the local government units (LGUs) to activate their monitoring systems and comply with basic requirements for disaster preparedness.

On the part of the Department of Social Welfare and Development 6, Chief Administrative Officer Leo Quintilla said they have 12,000 standby food packs reserved at their warehouse in Oton, Iloilo.

He said they will initially deploy 300 food packs in Guimaras within Monday.

The Philippine Coast Guard 6 and the Police Regional Office 6 also assured that their personnel are on alert to respond to any needed capabilities.

All boat trips in the region continue to operate, but Nuñez said these may be temporarily suspended in the coming days due to heavy rains and if typhoon signal will be raised here.

He advised the public to be vigilant and continue monitoring the weather to ensure their safety.  Cindy Ferrer/PNA-northboundasia.com