WV ON ‘BLUE ALERT’: Disaster body warns of floods, landslides

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE. Residents of Barangay San Nicolas in Iloilo City’s La Paz district wade through murky floodwater after a heavy downpour. Other parts of the city with clogged drainage have this problem, too. Monsoon rains enhanced by tropical depression “Falcon” also forced the city government to suspend classes yesterday, July 16, 2019. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE. Residents of Barangay San Nicolas in Iloilo City’s La Paz district wade through murky floodwater after a heavy downpour. Other parts of the city with clogged drainage have this problem, too. Monsoon rains enhanced by tropical depression “Falcon” also forced the city government to suspend classes yesterday, July 16, 2019. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

ILOILO City – Though the trajectory of tropical depression “Falcon” is the tip of Northern Luzon, it is enhancing the southwest monsoon. Western Visayas is thus experiencing moderate to heavy rains which could cause floods and landslides, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Torrential rains forced the local government here and several others in Iloilo province to suspended classes yesterday in preschool, elementary, high school, and senior high school levels.

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) placed the region on blue alert status.

Under a blue alert, 50 percent of personnel of various disaster management councils are required to be at their posts at any time, with emergency preparations carried out according to earlier developed plans.

In Memorandum No. 56-2019, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Region 6 instructed member agencies to monitor the situation in their areas of responsibility and file reports to the National DRRMC Operations Center thru the RDRRMC.

OCD-6 director Jose Roberto Nuñez likewise advised local DRRM councils to closely coordinate with concerned agencies such as the Department of Interior and Local Government, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, and Department of Agriculture.

During a Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment Meeting on Monday in Metro Manila called by the NDRRMC, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau warned that light to heavy rainstorms and thunderstorms from Falcon could trigger landslides and flashfloods in Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas, among other regions in Luzon.

Pagasa hoisted a “yellow” rainfall alert over Panay Island, with particular concern in Libertad, Antique.

A “yellow” rainfall warning indicates heavy rain of up to 15mm per hour; it means possible flooding in low-lying areas and landslide in mountainous areas.

Aletha Nogra, OCD-6 Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division head, urged public vigilance.

“Coordinate with your barangay DRRMC. If there are instructions to evacuate, know where to evacuate. Dapat kabalo sila kon diin ang safe nga evacuation area so no lives will be lost,” said Nogra. 

Meanwhile, Iloilo City’s Mayor Jerry Treñas, in suspending classes, said, “I am convinced that our preschool children, elementary pupils, high school and senior high school students, considered as exposed and vulnerable populations, should be protected from the possible effects of strong winds and heavy rainfall.”

In Iloilo province, local government units that suspended classes were Pavia, San Miguel,

Oton, Santa Barbara, Zarraga, Miag-ao, San Joaquin, Guimbal, Tigbauan, Banate, Lambunao, Barotac Nuevo, and Passi City.

Tropical depression “Falcon” is seen to make landfall over the Babuyan-Batanes Islands tonight, according to Pagasa.

Continuing to move westward over the Philippine Sea at a speed of 30 kilometers per hour (kph), it was 510 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan at around 11 a.m. yesterday. It blew maximum sustained winds of 55 kph and gusts of up to 70 kph.

“Falcon” is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Friday./PN

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