ILOILO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Iloilo council placed the city under a “state of imminent danger” on Friday morning, December 5, to be able to utilize at least P5 million in emergency funds in anticipation of the widespread damage that Typhoon Ruby (international code: Hagupit) may cause.
In an emergency session, the Sangguniang Panlungsod adopted the resolution of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) recommending such declaration.
The emergency fund will be used for anything that may be needed before, during and after Ruby, said Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
Typhoon Ruby is expected to affect 50 provinces in Eastern Visayas and surrounding regions, including Western Visayas, where Iloilo is located. They are the same areas that have yet to receover from the devastation brought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013.
Mabilog also issued Executive Order (EO) 2014–112, suspending classes in all levels and work in government offices Friday and Saturday.
“We are expecting heavy rains starting today (Friday),” said the mayor. “We want to give people ample time to prepare until the expected landfall.”
On Thursday, all classes were suspended at noon to allow students studying in Iloilo City to go home to their towns.
The EO does not cover offices doing work related to emergency response.
As for private businesses, work suspension is at the discretion of the management, according to the EO.
On Saturday, the city government will also order pre-emptive evacuation at 12 noon and a forced evacuation at 5 pm, especially for residents in coastal areas.
Personnel of the Iloilo City Police Office and the Bureau of Fire Protection and civic club volunteers will spearhead the evacuation, said Mabilog. He encouraged residents to cooperate.
“Flood brought by a possible storm surge is expected to reach 4 meters. It can reach the ceilings of one-storey houses and buildings,” the mayor said.
Police stations will serve as the districts’ respective command centers. The main command center is at the Iloilo City Hall rooftop.
“Since yesterday, the people at the command centers have been generating information from other areas where the typhoon will pass through before reaching Western Visayas,” said Mabilog.
Mabilog advised residents with one-storey houses to seek help from their neighbors with houses of two or more storeys, and to stock food, water, candles, and other basic necessities, and secure important documents.
The Bureau of Fire Protection and the Iloilo City Police Office were set to deploy teams to lead pre-emptive evacuation of residents from coastal villages and low-lying areas.
On standby to bring residents to evacuation centers are 5 dump trucks from the City Engineer’s Office, 3 dump trucks from the General Services Office, and 24 buses from Vallacar Transit.
“Be vigilant and don’t wait for the government to do all the things in times of disaster and the barangays should already prepare their evacuation plans,” said Mabilog.
The CDRRMC designated the following public and private schools as evacuation sites:
- Iloilo City Community College
- John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation in Molo district
- University of the Philippines – Iloilo City campus
- University of Iloilo
- University of San Agustin-Sambag Campus
- Central Philippine University
- Western Visayas College of Science and Technology
- West Visayas State University
- Philippine Science High School in Balabagao
- Mandurriao Elementary School
- St. Therese Maritime College
The city social services office will distribute food to affected barangays in cooperation.
Rescue and fire volunteers will be assigned to all evacuation centers together with the Red Cross, Iloilo Citizens Action Group, and Fil- Chinese Federation of Fire and Rescue groups.
Other groups taking part in the Typhoon Ruby operations are Tiger Shark, Royal Eagle, Mountain Tigers, Arevalo Rescue Group and Navy Rescue.
The 3rd floor of Iloilo City Hall has been turned into a command center.
All private and public hospitals were placed under Code White, which, according to the Department of Health, means there is potential for mass casualty and hospitals should have enough stocks of emergency medicines, especially those for trauma. – Rappler.com
(The writers are volunteers for the Typhoon Ruby/Hagupit Story Hub Visayas, a citizen journalism portal created by veteran journalists, student writers, mobile journalists, and photographers based in Iloilo City. It is an offshoot of the Typhoon Yolanda Story Hub Visayas they formed in 2013 to deliver reports from across the Panay Island.)
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