Pagasa says ‘Zoraida’ may follow ‘Pablo’s’ path; warns of floods, landslides

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/12 November) – The local office of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) warned tropical depression “Zoraida” will likely follow the path of typhoon “Pablo” that made landfall in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley in December last year.

“As of the latest forecast update this afternoon, the tropical depression will make landfall between Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental, specifically between the towns of Lingig and Cateel at around 2:00 in the afternoon of November 12,” Lolita Vinalay, chief meteorological officer of Pagasa-Butuan said late Monday evening.

Vinalay, however, clarified that “Zoraida won’t be carrying the same force as that of Pablo. The entire Caraga region as well as areas in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental is all under [storm] signal number 1.”

She added there is a chance Zoraida might change course since it has moved faster that earlier reported.

“Early in the day it was reported at 28 kilometers per hour, the latest is that it is now moving at 30 kph. The initial forecast earlier at 5:00 in the morning was that the tropical depression was to make landfall in Cagwait, Surigao del Sur and to exit somewhere between Butuan City and Cabadbaran City but as it got closer it changed direction,” she said.

Vinalay advised everyone not to be complacent and to monitor the movement of the storm as it may change direction at the very last minute.

Liza Mazo, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense said they have alerted the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (DRRMC) in the Caraga Region on possible floods and landslides.

“We have alerted partner agencies on the risk response and recommended preemptive evacuation high risk areas in their localities,” said Mazo, who also heads the Regional DRRMC.

Abel de Guzman, provincial DRMMC officer of Surigao del Sur said that they have sent warnings and recommendations to all the towns.

“This afternoon we have activated our 24 hours operation center and coordinated with all the towns here in Surigao del Sur. We have requested our local government units to prepare preemptive evacuation especially in the coastal areas,” said Guzman.

He said they are more worried over storm surges or the sudden rise of the tides than the floods, flashfloods and landslides, but assured they are prepared for such situations.

Josephine Lapiros, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur said in a phone interview that the local government has made preparations and ordered preemptive evacuation throughout the town.

“We have implemented forced evacuation in the five islands within Hinatuan’s jurisdiction and massive preemptive evacuation in all the 24 barangays. At around 7:00 this evening (Monday) families have started arriving in our different designated evacuation areas,” said Lapiros. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)