GenSan braces for ‘Yolanda’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 6 Nov) – The city government alerted has residents here on the possible occurrence of severe floods and landslides as super typhoon “Yolanda” enters the country tonight.

Dr. Agripino Dacera, acting head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), said they expect the area to experience heavier than normal rains within the next few days due to the effects of the weather disturbance.

He said they already mobilized the city’s 26 barangay councils and their respective disaster teams to regularly monitor the weather condition and prepare some contingency measures.

Mayor Ronnel Rivera has scheduled an emergency meeting of the CDRRM Council this afternoon to finalize the city’s preparations for the possible onslaught of typhoon Yolanda.

“We’re not taking any chances with this projected super typhoon so we will be drawing some measures to preempt its possible impact in our area,” the official said.

As of this morning, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) cited in an advisory that Yolanda has been moving towards the eastern part of the country at a faster speed of 30 kilometers per hour (kph) from the previous 20 kph.

It said the eye of the typhoon, which was given the international name “Haiyan,” was located at 1,560 kilometers east of Mindanao with maximum sustained winds of 120 kph and gustiness of up to 150 kph.

Pagasa said in its weather bulletin that the whole country will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies and isolated rain showers or thunderstorms mostly over the eastern section.

Dacera said their office has been tracking the movement of super typhoon “Haiyan,” which will be called “Yolanda” once it enters the Philippine area of responsibility, since it was first spotted off Marianas Islands.

“We immediately alerted the city’s Liga ng mga Barangay on this matter so they can make some early preparations,” he said.

Although the typhoon was expected to have its landfall in areas within the Samar provinces and its center will not likely hit the southern part of Mindanao as cited by Pagasa, Dacera said it is still expected to affect the area since its track is quite wide.

At the worst situation, he said the area might experience prolonged heavy rains that might trigger severe floods, especially in the low-lying areas.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 12 earlier identified barangays Baluan, Buayan, Bula, Calumpang, Siguel, Lagao and Sinawal here as high-risk areas to flooding.

The seven villages were among the 340 communities in Region 12 that were found to be highly vulnerable and will likely become “uninhabitable” during floods.

MGB said most of these areas are part of a flood plain and are vulnerable to heavy flooding after just two to three hours of rains due to the lack of substantial storm drainage.

Other areas in the city that are considered as flood-prone are barangays City Heights, Apopong, Labangal, Dadiangas North and Dadiangas West.