OCD-12 on alert for floods, landslides

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 January) — The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 12 has sustained the alert level on Monday for the possible occurrence of severe floods and landslides in various parts of the region even as tropical depression Agaton has already weakened into a low pressure area (LPA).

Jerome Barranco, OCD Region 12 acting director, said they advised local government units (LGUs) in the region to brace for massive rains within the next few days as a result of the weather disturbance, which was monitored at around 400 kilometers (km) East Southeast of Davao City or 455 km East of this city.

The OCD convened in nearby Koronadal City on Monday morning the technical working group of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to set the preparations for the possible impact of the LPA in the area.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Based on the final weather bulletin issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) at 11 a.m. Monday, it said Agaton has so far weakened into an LPA and all public storm warning signals that were earlier declared in various areas in Mindanao have been lifted.

But Pagasa said the LPA is still expected to bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over Northern Mindanao, Caraga and Davao Region.

The provinces of Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Compostella Valley were earlier placed under storm signal number 1 due to the onslaught of Agaton.

Pagasa had noted that the weather disturbance is expected to be at 140 km Southeast of Davao City or at 185 km Southeast of this city by Tuesday morning, at 60 km East by Wednesday morning and 140 km Southwest of by Thursday morning.

In Koronadal City, administrator Cyrus Urbano advised local residents situated near river banks and steep slopes to prepare for the possible occurrence of floods and landslides.

He directed the area’s 27 barangay councils to activate their disaster monitoring teams and prepare for the implementation of their contingency plans.

“We’re advising residents situated in identified flood and landslide-prone areas to temporarily evacuate to safer areas,” said Urbano, who heads the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

He specifically cited communities near the critical Marbel River and Bulok, which recorded several flashfloods last year.

Urbano urged residents in housing subdivisions and other low-lying communities to clean up the drainage canals and other waterways to prevent possible flooding in their areas.

Meantime, in separate advisories, the DRRM offices in this city and nearby Sarangani Province noted that the floods and landslide alerts remain in effect in the area as occasional light to moderate rains are still to occur in the area due to the LPA.

They urged residents to regularly monitor the weather situation in their areas and take necessary precautionary measures in case calamities will occur. (MindaNews)