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LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The provincial government of Albay aims to evacuate 600,000 people by early Saturday morning, December 6, in view of Typhoon Ruby which is expected to make landfall in Samar island over the weekend.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda said on Friday that he has ordered government troops and disaster responders in the province to complete the evacuation of some 183,180 families or close to 600,000 people threatened by lahar, floods, landslides, storm surges, and strong wind.
The provincial government began the pre-emptive evacuation as government scientists warn of heavy damage to agriculture, property, and life in the Bicol region if precautions are not taken early enough. (READ: Bicol braces for massive landslides, lahar flow)
Albay is among the provinces deemed as Typhoon Ruby critical areas by state weather bureau PAGASA.
Salceda has requested 30 military trucks from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) for the evacuation.
The governor said that the provincial government “must apply” the lessons it learned from Typhoon Reming (Durian), which killed more than a thousand people in, displaced thousands of families, and destroyed agricultural crops and public and private infrastructure in 2006.
Salceda also ordered local officials to prune trees so that their fallen branches would not damage homes and electric posts.
Albay on red alert
Lilian Guillermo, officer-in-charge of PAGASA in Bicol, said in a briefing for disaster response officials that heavy to intense rains are expected to cause massive flooding and may trigger landslides across the region.
“Albay is placed on red alert with expected rainfall of 55 to 60 millimeters per hour. Coastal waters along the seaboards and eastern coast of Albay will experience storm surge, so be ready,” Guillermo said.
Ed Laguerta of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned that intense rainfall may trigger landslides on Mayon volcano, and re-mobilize its volcanic debris.
In Sorsogon province, Matnog Port was declared a “no man’s zone.” The OCD and the Philippine Coast Guard grounded all sea transportation in all seaports.
Meanwhile, a soldier on a disaster response mission in Sorsogon was hurt after his team was attacked by suspected communist rebels in Irosin at around 11:45 am on Friday.
Colonel Cesar M. Idio, commanding officer of the Army’s 903rd Infantry Brigade, said that a Disaster Response Team under 1st Lieutenant Carlito A. Carino was on its way to establish a Quick Reaction Team at the Irosin DRRM Operation Center (OPCEN) when its members were attacked by the suspected rebels.
Idio identified the wounded soldier as Private First Class Jerlou B. Diesta, who was brought to a hospital for treatment, and has been declared out of danger. – Rappler.com
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