By TYRONE A. VELEZ
Davao City – Are Davao provinces previously hit by Typhoon Pablo last year prepared to contend with the brewing disaster named Yolanda?
Governors of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley said they are not taking chances with Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), which is set to enter the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday morning.
Governors Rodolfo del Rosario of Davao del Norte and Arturo ‘Chongkee’ Uy of Compostela Valley told Davao Today they had convened their respective Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction And Management Councils (PDRRMC) to discuss preparations for the storm.
Governor Del Rosario said the province “is all set for Yolanda, as local government units had been alerted and rescue teams are in place.”
The governor declared all classes suspended in the province for Thursday and Friday.
Uy said he had called an emergency meeting for the PDRRMC Wednesday, but has not given details of their preparation.
He admitted lack of experience and preparation in disaster led to more casualties in Typhoon Pablo’s aftermath especially in New Bataan town.
Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon could not be reached as of this writing.
Typhoon Pablo which struck December 4 last year, claimed 1,901 fatalities, with Compostela Valley having the largest death toll of 506 followed by Davao Oriental with 391.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Association (PAGASA) forecast as of Wednesday 5 pm showed Typhoon Yolanda is now over the Pacific Ocean located at 1,411 kilometers east of Mindanao as of Wednesday 5 pm with maximum sustained winds of 150 kph.
Yolanda is expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Thursday morning but landfall is projected over Samar-Leyte Provinces by Friday around 11 am, and is expected to exit PAR by Sunday morning.
PAGASA projected rainshowers and thunderstorms in the country mostly over the eastern section of the country, while Mindanao will experience light to moderate winds.
DOST’s Project Noah said Mindanao provinces of Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.
PAGASA Davao Region weather observer Ben Rosales, however, said the course of the typhoon may veer anytime, but will be determined by Thursday as it enters the country.
Rosales said Yolanda’s speed is at par with last year’s Typhoon Pablo (180 kph) which devastated portions of Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.
The AccuWeather.com said, “(T)he most likely scenario is that Haiyan will be a very powerful typhoon with wind gusts over 125 mph as it approaches the central Philippines.”
“Rain and increasing wind will reach the central Philippines Friday afternoon and conditions will deteriorate from east to west Friday night into early Saturday as the powerful typhoon crosses the islands,” AccuWeather added.
They also forecast “damaging winds of 80 to 120 kph (50 to 75 mph) and rainfall of 100 to 200 mm (4 to 8 inches) are still expected.”
Davao del Norte PDRRMC Executive Director Romulo Tagalo said “PAGASA has not definitely identified Davao del Norte to be among those possibly hit. Nonetheless, we are not taking this for granted.”
Davao del Norte underwent training on their incident command system (ICS) few weeks ago to beef up the capability of the province to better respond to emergencies.
ICS entails a “first-on-scene” structure, and its formation is said to be part of the country’s existing on-scene disaster response system, as provided for in Republic Act 10121, the new law on disaster management.
Meanwhile, Uy met yesterday with Albay Governor Joey Salceda in Davao City for a memorandum of understanding on community development, and also discussed Albay’s methods in disaster risk reduction and management.
Salceda said factors for disaster response include “resiliency of people” and whether or not there is “training (of) young and old” as well as the rescuers.
Meanwhile, the town of Maribojoc, Bohol, which is still on the stage of rebuilding homes, has taken measures to brace for the second storm that will come to the province in a week.
Bagani Evasco, son of Maribojoc town Mayor Leoncio Evasco who is in Manila, said they had fortified tents of evacuees with A-type wood braces, and had provided in advance rice supplies of 20 kilos for each family.
Evasco said they had also mobilized church people and individuals to monitor communities.
He added that although Bohol will not be in the center of the storm, nevertheless, they had taken steps to prepare to allay worries of local residents. (Tyrone A. Velez, davaotoday.com)davao del norte, davao oriental, typhoon Pablo, Typhoon Yolanda, Yolanda