Typhoon ‘Ruby’ prompts 2,300 families to leave homes in Surigao Norte

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/05 December)—At least 2,300 families from different parts of Surigao del Norte have sought refuge in evacuation centers across the province as a precaution to typhoon “Ruby” (international name Hagupit), Gov. Sol Matugas said on Friday.

She told MindaNews the evacuees came from areas highly at risk to disasters.

Matugas ordered the cancellation of work in all public offices, except those involved in disaster response and related agencies, Friday morning.

On Thursday, the governor suspended classes in all levels in the entire province, including in Surigao City, as part of the preparation for typhoon “Ruby,” which was expected to make landfall on Saturday evening over the Visayas area.

As of Friday noon, 1,369 families or 6,200 individuals have sought shelter in various evacuation centers in Surigao City, said Annette Villaces, city information officer.

She said these individuals mostly came from coastal villages in the city and have voluntarily evacuated to the different evacuation centers.

The evacuations centers in the city are the Surigao del Norte National High School, Provincial Convention Center, Surigao State College and Technology and the gymnasiums in Barangays Canlanipa, Mabua and Buenavista.

The local government has distributed food packs to each family, she said.

Villaces said they expect the number of evacuees to swell with people voluntarily leaving their residences.

As of 11 a.m. Friday, the Surigao provinces-Norte and Sur– were under Public Storm Warning Signal 1, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

The Surigao provinces were earlier placed under Storm Signal 2.

There were no rains in Surigao City since Thursday, however.

Some business establishments in the city have closed since Friday morning as part of their preparation for the typhoon.

More people were also seen rushing to buy goods at stores in preparation for the typhoon.

Meanwhile, the Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Surneco) advised residents to turn off their main electric switches at home in case of flooding.

“Do not operate any electrical equipment during flood and avoid using electrical appliances that have been flooded,” said Engr. Narciso I. Calliao Jr., Surneco general manager.

In case of fallen electrical poles or cables, residents can call the Surneco hotlines at 826-5456 or 0919-520-6025, he said.