SURIGAO DEL NORTE, Philippines – Siargao islanders on Monday, December 13, braced for a tropical cyclone headed towards the Caraga region and feared to hit the world-famous surfing capital of the Philippines.
Officials said it is moving towards northeastern Mindanao, and could adversely affect Siargao Island on Thursday, December 16.
General Luna Mayor Cecilia Rusillon said local officials and disaster response groups started emergency meetings in preparation for heavy rains and fierce winds.
She said the local disaster council would also convene this afternoon to see what still needs to be done.
Residents have been alerted and were told to brace for impact. Villagers and local government workers began trimming branches of trees near establishments around Siargao’s famous “Cloud 9,” the favorite surfing site on the island because of its big waves.
“We better be prepared than be caught flat-footed,” said Jose Figuron, a businessman who owns one of the establishments in the area.
Several tourists cut short their vacation and started leaving the island.
“As much as we want to stay longer, we have to leave the island today because the typhoon could make a landfall here,” said Rebecca Uy.
Beachfront property owners put in place sandbags and plywoods to cover glass doors and windows.
Several boat owners also moored their boats at mangrove forests.
Matt Cuadra, the owner of a local car rental company, said he requested officials to allow him to park his vehicles at the Siargao Sports Complex, which he sees as safer ground.
Richard Sharp, a resident in Pilar town, said he planned to evacuate his family somewhere safer on the island. –Rappler.com