CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 7 Nov) – With fire trucks blaring their sirens, hundreds of residents here and the province of Misamis Oriental trooped on Thursday to the safety of evacuation centers ahead of the expected landfall of super typhoon “Yolanda.”
Maricel Casino-Rivera, Cagayan de Oro information officer, said a mandatory evacuation order would be implemented in all villages beside the Cagayan de Oro and Iponan rivers by 6 p.m. tonight.
Rivera said some 1,538 families or 7,680 individuals have already taken shelter at the various evacuation centers set up by the local government and barangay councils.
She said most of the evacuees came from Barangays Macasandig and Balulang, which were hard-hit by typhoon Sendong in 2011.
In Misamis Oriental, Gov. Yevgeny Emano had already authorized town mayors to implement the mandatory forced evacuation as early as 10 a.m. today.
The monitoring center of the Misamis Oriental Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council at the provincial capitol reported that 1,568 families or 7,900 persons have been evacuated in 12 towns of the province.
“Ten of 25 towns in Misamis Oriental have implemented early mandatory evacuations. We are expecting more towns to implement the order by tonight,” Emano said.
Yolanda, now a category 5 super typhoon, is expected to make landfall between Samar and Leyte tomorrow, according to forecasts made by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
With 215 kph sustained winds, Yolanda is expected to dump 10 to 30 millimeters per hour of rain within the typhoon’s 600 km diameter.
Pagasa placed Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro under signal no. 1.
Provincial administrator Edmundo Pacamalan Jr. said they are closely monitoring Balatocan River that cut across six villages in the towns of Balingasag and Lagonglong.
He said residents of these villages are still reluctant to leave their houses despite prodding from rescuers.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Region 10 said at lest 15 rivers and creeks in the eastern part of Misamis Oriental have a history of flashfloods during typhoons and severe weather.
Meanwhile in Cagayan de Oro, rescue volunteers on board fire trucks went around Barangays Balulang, Carmen, Kauswagan and Iponan urging the residents to evacuate.
“We are implementing the mandatory evacuation as gently as possible because we do not want them accusing us of violating their human rights,” Rivera said.