TYPHOON TRACKER. Senior weather forecaster Christopher Perez of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration tracks the path of typhoon “Ompong” at the state weather bureau’s headquarters in Quezon City. “Ompong” would be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the country this year. PNA PHOTO

ILOILO City – Typhoon “Ompong” (international name: “Mangkhut”) has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). Mayor Jose Espinosa III placed the operation centers of 180 barangay disaster risk reduction and management committees on “blue alert” status.

The city government also ordered barangay disaster committees to be ready with their “disaster preparedness measures to ensure the safety of citizens.”

“Ompong”, which is forecast to reach the super typhoon status, entered PAR around 3 p.m. yesterday.

It packs winds of up to 205 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 255 kph.

Barangay operation centers were advised to coordinate closely with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council for weather updates through hotline numbers 333-2333, 333-3333 and 333-4333.

According to Undersecretary Ricardo Solidum of the Department of Science and Technology in Metro Manila, “Ompong” would be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the country this year.

Although the typhoon’s trajectory is northern Luzon, it would enhance the southwest monsoon and thus bring rains to Western Visayas.

Forty barangays have “high” and “very high” susceptibility to flooding, according to City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s Franco Agudo during Tuesday’s pre-disaster risk assessment.

Also as part of the city government’s preparations, the City Social Welfare and Development Office is readying food and non-food items for those that could possibly be displaced.

On the other hand, the City Health Office said it has enough supply of prophylaxis for leptospirosis and antibiotics for adults.

All health centers are also on standby.

The goal is zero casualty and early preparation is the key, according to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Western Visayas.

But areas needing focus are Capiz, Antique and some parts of Aklan and Negros Occidental, said OCD regional director Jose Roberto Nuñez.

OCD’s operation center based in Camp Delgado, Iloilo City will issue situation reports every six hours.

The public is also encouraged to report anything related to the typhoon via OCD’s hotline numbers 0949-180-6115, 337-6671 and 336-9353.

Nuñez stressed the importance of getting information about the typhoon from legitimate sources such as the official website and social media accounts of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

Also, said Nuñez, people should refrain from sharing unverified or false information or fake news about the typhoon.

“Sana huwag nilang gawin kasi nagpa-panic ‘yung mga tao,” said Nuñez./PN

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