ILOILO – The whole of Panay Island and the northern part of Negros Occidental have been placed under typhoon signal No. 2. Residents of island barangays, especially those in northern Iloilo, were told to store food and water. They could be cut off from the mainland when typhoon “Tisoy” (international name: “Kammuri”) unleashes torrential rains.
As of 5 p.m. yesterday “Tisoy” intensified over Northern Samar, bringing intense rainfall and violent winds. Other areas in Luzon were placed under Signal No. 3.
Intermittent heavy rains would be felt over Aklan, Capiz, northern Antique and northern Iloilo, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
The warning to residents of island barangays, especially those in northern Iloilo, was not without basis. In August, a week of inclement weather cut off 18 island barangays from the mainland of the northern coastal municipality of Carles.
Fishermen were not able to go out fishing. With motorboats grounded, residents were not able to buy badly needed supplies from the town center. Island-hopping tourists got stranded, too.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) announced yesterday that no boats would be allowed to leave the seaports in northern Iloilo.
“The mainlands of Concepcion and Carles towns are far from their island barangays. It is not safe for boats to travel,” said Dr. Jerry Bionat, chief of the Iloilo Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC).
Residents of the island barangays were advised to store food and water supplies good for three days.
They were also told to secure medicines, first-aid kits, gasoline or firewood, and extra battery for transistor radios.
Concepcion, 97 kilometers north of Iloilo City, is located on the north-eastern part of Panay Island (known as the mainland), together with some 16 other smaller associated islands.
Carles, on the other hand, is the northernmost municipality in Iloilo province and is 142 kilometers north of Iloilo City.
Eighteen of Carles’ barangays are spread out over 14 islands and minor islets.
Carles was heavily damaged by super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: “Haiyan”) in November 2013. Buildings were destroyed and more than 1,200 people were displaced by the storm.
As of 4 p.m. yesterday, “Tisoy was 155 km east of Juban, Sorsogon moving west at 15 kph with maximum sustained winds of 155 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 190 kph.
According to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, several areas in Western Visayas suspended classes.
There were also cancellations of boat trips from Iloilo to Guimaras and vice versa, as well from Bacolod City to Iloilo City and vice versa.
The trips of roll on, roll off (roro) vessels from the Caticlan Jetty Port in Malay, Aklan to Mindoro, Romblon and Batangas provinces have also been suspended.
The trip cancellations resulted to the stranding of around 240 passengers at the seaports in Dumangas, Iloilo and Iloilo City. A total of 15 vessels and 47 rolling cargoes were grounded.
Office of Civil Defense regional director Jose Roberto Nuñez reminded local disaster councils to aim for “zero casualty.” (With a report from the Philippine News Agency/PN)