Bohol braces for 'Vinta'
BOHOL, Philippines – After the state weather bureau placed Bohol province under signal number one on Thursday, December 21, local officials said they are not taking the storm lightly and warned residents of possible flooding and landslides.
At a press briefing on Friday morning, Bohol Governor Edgar M. Chatto ordered all disaster and risk management councils in the 47 towns and lone city of Tagbilaran to brace for a possible worsening of the weather situation.
Bohol has a population of 1.3 million as of 2015.
He also reminded the public that based on lessons from past calamities, it is safer to be overprepared for a looming disaster.
"Let us pray and hope that Bohol will not be placed under signal number 2," Chatto said. "But we have made all the necessary preparations to minimize the impact of typhoon Vinta to lives and properties."
Near the end of 2014, Bohol suffered the worst flooding in recent history after two days of heavy rains brought about by typhoon Seniang, triggering an overflow of Loboc river that submerged the entire town.
As soon as Bohol was placed under signal number one Thursday morning, the Capitol called for an urgent meeting among all heads of various government agencies and laid out their pre-disaster plan.
Aside from Bohol, Southern Leyte, Southern Cebu, Negros Oriental, Southern Negros Occidental, and Siquijor Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Rest of Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Camiguin, Rest of Davao Oriental, Rest of Davao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Basilan are also placed under signal number one.
Regular government work will not be suspended however, until the province is placed under signal number two, Chatto said.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), as of its December 22, 8am forecast, said the eye of the storm was spotted near Laak, Compostela Valley province.
With a gustiness of 155 kilometers per hour, Vinta is expected to dump heavy rains on the Visayas, including Bohol, according to Anthony Damalerio, head of the province's disaster management office.
"As of 6 am Friday we have not received any report of damage from all the towns of Bohol," Damalerio said. "All our rescue teams are on standby for any eventuality."
Meanwhile, all sea travel from Bohol was suspended since Thursday. Hundreds of stranded travelers were advised to wait until signal number one was lifted. Flights to Manila remain uninterrupted as of Friday morning.
At the port of Jagna town, a gateway to Mindanao, the captain of a passenger ship suffered a cardiac arrest and died as the vessel returned to Jagna port Thursday after authorities declared cancellations of sea trips. – Rappler.com
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