NDRRMC 'strongly' urges forced evacuation in 4 provinces
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – With Typhoon Lando intensifying as it nears land, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is “strongly recommending” forced evacuation in the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan, Quirino, and Aurora.
“We are strongly recommending to the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan, Quirino, at Aurora kung saan lahat ‘yung mga barangays along the flood-prone areas, [that] they already conduct forced evacuation,” said NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama in a media briefing past 6:00 pm on Saturday, October 17.
(We are strongly recommending to the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan, Quirino, and Aurora, especially the barangays in flood-prone areas, to already conduct forced evacuation.)
The latest bulletin from state weather bureau PAGASA said that Lando is getting stronger, packing maximum sustained winds of 175 km/h near the center, with gustiness of up to 210 km/h. Lando is expected to hit land in Aurora between 8 and 9 am on Sunday, October 18.
Storm warning signals have been raised in 36 areas, with Storm Warning Signal No. 4 raised over Aurora. (READ: Isabela, Cagayan brace for Typhoon Lando)
As of 6:30 pm, October 17, five road sections have been closed to traffic.
“Tayo po ay nananawagan sa ating mga kababayan na [nakatira] hindi lang po doon sa mga lalawigang nabanggit natin kundi sa mga lugar din po kung saan may pag-uulan ngayon, na kung tayo po ay nasa lugar kung saan traditionally o historically ay nagkakaroon ng baha o flash floods, na sa ating kapaligiran ay may mga landslides, ilagay na po ‘yung mga sarili natin sa mga lugar na hindi peligro,” said Pama.Pama also said government authorities conducted preemptive evacuation for 91 families living in Benito Soliven, Dinapigue, Mocanaco, and Palanan in Isabela, as well as Baler and Dipaculao in Aurora.
(We are appealing to people not only living in the areas we mentioned, but even in those areas experiencing rains already, or who live in areas that historically experience flooding and landslides, to move themselves already away from danger.)
Lando is expected to cause risks like heavy rainfall, flashfloods, landslides, and storm surges.
“May oras pa po tayo (We still have time)," said Pama, adding that residents should follow instructions from their respective local government units (LGUs).
No reported casualties
During the media briefing, Pama said sea vessels and boats are no longer allowed to set sail, especially in coastal areas in the eastern seaboard of Luzon and the Bicol area.
"Sa punto po niyan, nagkaroon na po tayo ng mga stranded passengers. Ito po ay nai-report naman po ng ating mga kababayan ngunit 'wag tayo mag-alala dahil ‘yung mga lokal na pamahalaan, kasama na rin po ‘yung mga DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) natin na response cluster ay tuluy-tuloy na po na nagbibigay ng ayuda, pagkain sa mga na-stranded," Pama said. (READ: DSWD prepares relief for areas in Typhoon Lando's path)
(We now have stranded passengers and these have been reported by citizens. But don't worry because our local government units, as well as DSWD's response cluster are continuously providing help and food to the stranded passengers.)
He also gave assurances there is sufficient coordination among concerned departments and offices on the release of water from dams.
"Hindi tayo basta-basta magpapakawala ng tubig sa mga dam. In fact, ang advice natin sa mga dams na medyo mataas na ang abiso mula kahapon, magpakawala [ng tubig] bago pa dumating [ang bagyo] para di sasabay sa ulan sa pag-release sa dam," Pama said.
(We won't just release water from the dams. In fact, our advice for dams which had high level alerts since yesterday was, to release the water ahead of the rainfall.)
He also said that there have been no reported casualties or injuries because of Typhoon Lando.
'We are prepared'
Pama said that the LGUs in the areas to be affected by Lando have already initiated Oplan Listo (Operation Plan Alert), which constitutes the critical preparedness actions to be done 48 hours before a typhoon's arrival.
"Ang atin pong mga disaster operations sa mga rehiyon, sabi nga natin [ay] naka-red alert na. Kaninang hapon, tayo po ay nagkaroon ng video conference sa kanila, particularly sa ating mga regional centers sa Region 1,2,3 at Cordillera, kung saan atin pong natanggap ‘yung mga ulat kung ano ‘yung kanilang sitwasyon, ano ‘yung kanilang kahandaan, ano pa rin po ‘yung posibleng mga pangangailangan nila magmula sa ating national na pamahalaan," Pama said.
(Our disaster operations in the regions to be affected by the typhoon are on red alert. This afternoon, we had a video conference with the regional centers in Regions 1,2,3 as well as the Cordillera. We received reports about their current situation, their state of preparedness, and what else they would possibly need from the national government.)
He added that their partners from several international groups, including the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, have already been briefed about how they could possibly help the Philippine government.
"Ngunit lilinawin ko po na wala pa pong utos mula sa ating mahal na [Pangulong Benigno Aquino III] na tayo ay hihingi ng tulong mula sa labas. 'Yun po ay koordinasyon lamang," clarified Pama.
(I would like to clarify though that President Benigno Aquino III has not yet officially ordered us to ask for outside help. We are simply coordinating with them.)
"We are prepared," added Pama.
He also asked residents to provide feedback on the text blast system implemented by the NDRRMC earlier on Saturday to warn residents in flood-prone and landslide-prone areas about the impending danger brought about by Lando.
Interior Secretary Mel Sarmiento was also present during the press conference. He thanked the LGUs who are now putting more focus on improving their disaster risk reduction and management mechanisms.
"Marami na rin pong local government units – nagpapasalamat din po tayo sa kanila – na nagi-invest na talaga sa disaster risk reduction (There are many LGUs – and we thank them – for investing more in disaster risk reduction)," he said.
"Ang national government naman ay handang makipag-partner sa kanila at tumulong sa ating mga LGUs (The national government is ready to help the LGUs)," Sarmiento added. – Rappler.com