By Mary Judaline Flores Partlow
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) of Negros Oriental is now gearing up to respond to any eventuality as tropical storm Sendong continues to move toward the Visayas and is expected to cut across the southern part of Negros beginning today through Saturday.
Sendong is expected to make landfall Friday afternoon in Davao.
Allen Cabaron, provincial coordinator of the Office of Civil Defense and a member of the PDRRMC, disclosed that as early as Wednesday, the council already met and laid out possible response scenarios.
As far as the provincial government is concerned, logistics and other resources required for disaster response, relief and rehabilitation are in place, Cabaron said. However, local government units have to be regularly “pressured” to disseminate vital information on the progress of the typhoon down to the barangay levels, he added.
Some LGUs in Negros Oriental are not as fully equipped yet in terms of disaster response capability, Cabaron noted.
The PDRRMC is focusing on flood-prone and landslide prone areas in the southern part of the province, after the country’s weather bureau, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), hoisted Public Storm Warning Signal No. 2 over southern Negros as of Friday.
Areas that have rivers potentially prone to flooding are Zamboanguita, Siaton, Sta. Catalina, Bayawan and Basay, as well as Valencia and Sibulan where the Okoy River flows through and the capital city of Dumaguete with the Banica River known for its occasional flash floods, the OCD provincial coordinator said.
Landslide prone areas, meanwhile, have been identified in the towns of Siaton and Zamboanguita and Bayawan City.
Residents of low-lying areas that are prone to landslides are asked to immediately evacuate to safer ground as warranted, while coastal communities are being alerted against big waves and storm surges.
The state weather bureau forecast estimates that storm Sendong will bring 10 to 25 millimeters per hour of rainfall within 400-km diameter.
The weather bureau expects Sendong to be 120 kms east southeast of Dumaguete City by Saturday morning, and 40 kms east of Puerto Princesa City by Sunday morning, a report from PAGASA said.
The latest Severe Weather Bulletin issued by PAG-ASA said Signal No. 2 (with winds from 61 to 100 kilometers per hour) has been hoisted over Southern Leyte, Bohol, Southern Cebu, Southern Negros and Siquijor Island, Surigao Del Norte including Siargao Island, Surigao Del Sur, Dinagat Province, Agusan Provinces, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Samal Island, Lanao Provinces, Misamis Provinces, Zamboanga Provinces, North Cotabato, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon, Camiguin and Maguindanao.