Philippine tropical cyclones

Bicol provinces take over 16,000 families to safety in forced evacuations

Rhaydz B. Barcia, Bobby Labalan
Bicol provinces take over 16,000 families to safety in forced evacuations

PREEMPTIVE EVACUATIONS. Trucks in Sangay town, Camarines Sur take residents to evacuation centers on Friday, October 28 before the expected landfall in Bicol of Tropical Storm Paeng.

Noli B. Pielago

(1st UPDATE) At least two provinces, Camarines Sur and Albay, will not launch rescue operations once Tropical Storm Paeng starts lashing at the Bicol region

LEGAZPI, Philippines – The Bicol region’s six provinces took 16,915 families or 70,103 people to temporary shelters on Friday, October 28, before Tropical Storm Paeng’s (Nalgae) expected landfall. 

The Office of Civil Defense’s (OCD) Friday, 10 pm report said 9,954 families or 41,815 individuals in Camarines Sur were in evacuation centers.

The Bicol OCD said Albay had evacuated 6,052 families or 24,123 persons; Catanduanes, 598 families or 2,714 persons; Masbate, 287 families or 857 persons; and Camarines Norte, 17 families or 594.

But in Albay and Camarines Sur, officials said first responders will not implement rescue operations once Paeng’s strong winds start lashing at communities where residents had ample time to evacuate for safer ground, disaster officials in Bicol said on Friday evening.

The Camarines Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office said it stopped rescue operations at 6 pm and ordered responders back to their staging areas at 5:30 pm.

 Mayor John Vicente B. Fuentebella of Sagnay town ordered Noli Pielago, assistant officer of local disaster risk reduction management, to ensure evacuees reach centers before nightfall.

In the towns of San Jose and Camaligan, local chief executives made the rounds of barangay shelters to ensure evacuees received their food supplies and hygiene kits.

Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) also advised against the conduct of rescue activities once the storm hits land.

While APSEMO’s commitment to the public is 24/7, it is safest not to attempt rescue at the height of the storm and its torrential rains, he stressed.

Albay Governor Noel Rosal enforced preemptive evacuation in the province’s 15 municipalities and three cities on Friday morning, with special focus on the province’s eastern flank that is exposed to flood, storm surge, lahar flow, and landslides.

Bishop Joel “Bong” Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi said that churches across the province are open to the public as temporary shelters.

SM City Legazpi will also accommodate anyone seeking shelter from the typhoon. Claire Hariri, SM corporate spokesperson, said that overnight parking will be allowed at the mall.

Sorsogon Governor Boboy Hamor said soup kitchens feeding more than 1,000 stranded passengers in Matnog Port would operate round the clock. 

SOUP KITCHEN. Sorsogon disaster team feeds more than 1,000 stranded passengers in Matnog port. (Sorsogon provincial information office)

The Sorsogon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PRRMO) told Rappler that at least 382 families or 1,471 individuals had reached evacuation centers by 8 pm.

It also reported a landslide in Brgy. Aguada Norte, Magallanes town, Sorsogon but said there was no casualty.

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Tropical Storm Paeng’s first landfall now likely in Albay or Sorsogon

Tropical Storm Paeng’s first landfall now likely in Albay or Sorsogon

The Naval Forces of Southern Luzon in Bicol readied personnel before noon to conduct rescue operations.

Lieutenant Regeil G. Gatarin, spokesman of Navforsol said that the naval assets are already on standby for possible deployment. 

For land support, two disaster response and rescue teams and a mobile medical team are on high alert for possible humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. – Rappler.com

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