LEYTE, Philippines – Typhoon Ruby has been battering Eastern Visayas from Saturday night, December 6, until morning of Sunday, December 7.
Strong winds and heavy rain are still pounding Tacloban City and nearby towns as of posting. “If Yolanda was the strongest typhoon, Ruby is the longest-staying one,” 44-year-old Tacloban Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin told Rappler as he was patrolling the city to assess the extent of the devastation.
As far as he has seen, Typhoon Ruby caused “minimal damage” to the city that was flattened by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. The typhoon destroyed a row of bunkhouses along the diversion road in Tacloban. The evacuees were able to seek refuge in the cemetery across the street.
Strong, howling winds also ripped off the roof of the bunkhouses in Caibaan and damaged some transitional houses made of light materials like nipa and amacan. Electricity in the entire city has been cut off.
The gate of a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) relief goods facility was blown away by strong winds. The building is now secured by law enforcers.
About 50 soldiers and 300 cops are deployed across the city to secure business establishments, including stores and malls.
“There was no reported looting this time,” Yaokasin said.
Earlier this week, Mayor Alfred Romualdez ordered the establishment of checkpoints and issued a liquor ban. He also suspended classes and work to decongest the city whose population reaches about 700,000 during regular working days.
Massive mandatory evacuation was also implemented in 32 storm surge-prone villages, attaining 100% compliance hours before the typhoon made landfall in nearby Samar province. (READ: Tacloban enforces 100% evacuation on storm surge-prone villages)
So far, no casualty has been reported in the city, unlike the day after the Yolanda tragedy.
City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer Ildebrando Bernadas earlier said some fallen trees were used to barricade entry points to the city where checkpoints have been set up and where a no-business-no-entry policy was enforced.
Checkpoints seek to control movement of people into the city to ensure security and prevent untoward incidents like looting. – Rappler.com