Disaster authorities in Albay began moving out on Wednesday afternoon thousands of families living in low lying and mountainous areas prone to flooding and landslide in 362 villages in the 15 towns and three cities in Albay.
Such move is a pre-emptive measure as Typhoon Chedeng threatens to bring strong winds and heavy rains in the province, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said Wednesday.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda, PDRRMC chair, said a pre-emptive evacuation directive was issued on Wednesday to evacuate to safer grounds some 42,634 families or 217,205 people living in 362 villages across the province prone to flooding, lahar flows and landslides.
Usually affected by floods, lahar and landslides are low lying villages in the towns of Tiwi, Malinao, Sto, Domingo, Rapu-rapu, Manito, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Jovellar, Pio Duran, Oas, Polangui, Libon including this city.
Salceda however said if the radius of Typhoon Chedeng comes nearer Albay and bring strong winds and heavy rains another 40,143 families or 204,199 people in 855 coastal villages threatened by wind and storm surge will have to be evacuated.
The PDRRMC have deployed at 2:00 P.M. Wednesday six military trucks to fetch and bring thousands of people in the towns of Polangui, Libon, Oas, Pioduran located at the Albay’s west coast at risk from flooding and landslides.
Evacuation started at 2:00 PM and it will end at 6:00PM Wednesday, he said.
Landrico Dalida, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in a briefing Wednesday, said Chedeng is now a full blown storm located 365 kms East of Catarman, Northern Samar with a maximum winds of 130 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 160 kph.
Chedeng has slowed down and almost stationary moving West Northwest with a speed of 9 kph with 700 kilometers in diameter at the center, it is expected to hover the Bicol region Wednesday evening and Thursday bringing heavy rains in the entire Bicol region.
Chedeng is expected to pass through Bicol at around 10:00 PM today.
Dalida said Chedeng could possibly carry 36- to 64-mm of rainfall, a little bigger than Ondoy’s 56-mm rainfall that submerged Metro Manila in 2009.
Dalida said the intensity of Chedeng is similar to that of Typhoon Bebeng that hit Bicol last May 7 with heavy rains that triggered floods and landslides in the provinces of Sorsogon, Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte.
He said heavy rains spawned by Chedeng as it hovers Bicol on Wednesday would pelt the eastern and western seaboard of Albay affecting all the towns and cities of the province.
PAGASA hoisted storm signal number two in the provinces of Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon while Signal number 1 is raised in Masbate.
Salceda said the PDRRMC have already distributed 20,000 bags of rice to local disaster councils.
He said it has also earmarked P43.5 million calamity fund to be used for disaster operation.
Salceda also issued a directive Wednesday suspending government and private offices at 2:00 PM to give way to its employees to go home and prepare their homes for the impending disaster. He, however, said that this directive do not apply to national and local agencies involved in disaster operation among them are the AFP, PNP, DSWD, DOH and other disaster agencies.
At least 2,165 passengers on Wednesday were marooned in various major port in Bicol as Public Storm Signal No. 2 was hoisted by the weather bureau as Typhoon “Chedeng” enters the country’s area of responsibility (PAR).
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said they have suspended maritime operation after the weather bureau hoisted signal number one in Bicol on Tuesday.
PCG report said the suspension stranded some 486 passengers, 42 trucks, four cars, 57 buses, 20 sea vessels, and four motor bancas at the ports of Tabaco in Albay, Bulan, Pilar in Sorsogon, Masbate, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes.
Affected by the suspensions were 1,330 passengers at the port of Matnog, Sorsogon that are bound for the Visayas.
Raffy Alejandro, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director and RDRRMC chair said that in Camarines Sur the PDRRMC have to evacuate 62,588 families or 282,917 people at risk from flooding and landslide.
In Catanduanes, PDRRMC reported that 15,366 families or 76,833 people in the towns of Baras, Bagamanoc, Bato, Gigmoto, Viga and Panganiban have to be moved to safer grounds.