MANILA, Philippines – A few hours before Typhoon Glenda (international codename Rammasun) makes landfall in the Bicol-Samar regions, the capital of Samar province, Catbalogan City, evacuated residents living along the shoreline on Tuesday, July 15.
Catbalogan Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan said they had to expedite the evacuation as they did not expect the typhoon to hit the city. (READ: #GlendaPH: Latest info and critical alerts)
“Two days ago, when we were preparing our response for the typhoon, our only advisory was to halt the operation of the fisherfolk because it was dangerous at sea. But the typhoon changed path on Tuesday and we had to do something quick,” Uy-Tan told Rappler in Filipino.
The League of Cities warned Uy-Tan on Tuesday morning of the possibility of storm surges 2.5 to 3 meters high that could hit Catbalogan City.
The local government started evacuating its residents at around 9:00 am. As of this publication, some 20 coastal barangays have already been forced to move to safer grounds.
‘More damage than Yolanda’
Uy-Tan said the city is expecting heavier damage now compared to when Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit in November 2013.
“The typhoon has not yet made landfall but we’re already seeing much damage along the coastline. Definitely, the damage will be much worse than Yolanda,” Uy-Tan said.
Samar was largely spared from the heavy damage that nearby provinces Leyte and Southern Leyte suffered from Yolanda.
Despite the city’s efforts, Uy-Tan said it’s still difficult to convince residents to evacuate their homes.
“Some of them don’t believe that the typhoon will bring heavy damage. Some stay behind because they want to take care of their boats,” she said.
Uy-Tan added: “Boats can be repaired and replaced. Lives cannot.”
Nearby provinces Albay and Camarines Sur already evacuated thousands of residents from areas susceptible to floods and storm surge.
Public storm warnings have already been raised in around 30 provinces. Glenda is expected to bring maximum sustained winds of 130 km/h near the center, and gusts of up to 160 km/h. – Rappler.com
Follow Rappler’s live blog of Typhoon Glenda.
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