The Bicol Region bore the brunt of Tropical Depression Ofel, with heavy rainfall since Tuesday night, October 13, causing floods and landslides in the provinces of Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, and Albay.
The Office of Civil Defense led by Claudio Yucot directed all local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils across Bicol region to activate their respective emergency operation centers and implement response and contingency plans. These actions included pre-emptive evacuation in areas threatened by flood, landslide, lahar flow and storm surges.
Following the warning on heavy rainfall, Albay governor Al Francis Bichara ordered a localized evacuation of LGUs with constituents residing in flood and landslide prone areas, including lahar flow and storm surge in the coastal communities here.
“For public safety, the PDRRMC advises to cities and municipal disaster councils to activate evacuation of threatened population for flood, landslide, flash flood and debris flow. Put in place plan for possible localize evacuation of coastal population along Albay seaboard,” Bichara said.
Bichara also prohibited sailing in all coastal waterways in Albay as well as river channels.
Cedric Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (APSEMO) said after Ofel’s landfall in Masbate at noon, heavy rains and strong winds swept Albay’s second and third district.
Daep said affected were the west coast towns of Libon, Oas, Pioduran, the coastal areas of Manito, and this city.
Daep reminded local disaster officials to strictly enforce the IATF coronavirus health standards, in evacuation areas. These are wearing of face masks, face shields, and physical distancing.
At the evacuation centers, Daep said that disaster responders were asked to check the temperature of every evacuee and allow only 4 families in each room.
Daep said that at least 100,000 individuals were evacuated.
The Philippine Coast Guard canceled transport operations in all seaports in the Bicol region.
At least 526 passengers, 156 trucks, and 41 cars were stranded because of the closure of ferry service.
The cancellation also affected 17 sea vessels, 11 of which took shelter in the ports of Sorsogon, Albay and Camarines Sur.
Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi also ordered the evacuation of residents in Mayon unit areas threatened by lahar flow, specifically the villages of Mabinit, Matanag, Bonga and adjacent areas.
Guinobatan town Mayor Gemma Ongjoco also ordered the evacuation of at least 800 people in the villages of Maninila and Tandarora within Mayon units for safety.
These two villages are threatened by flooding and lahar flow. Ongjoco hired the public utility jeepneys in the evacuation of the residents on Wednesday. – Rappler.com