Residents in Davao’s coastal, riverside areas warned of flashfloods, landslides; ‘Onyok’ weakens

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 December) — Coastal barangays and areas along the riverbanks of Davao City have been told to keep watch for possible flashfloods and landslides as Tropical Depression Onyok was about to make landfall in Mindanao.

In a phone interview, Central 911 chief Emmanuel Jaldon told MindaNews the city was on alert level 2, which means all assets and responders are on standby mode for possible flashfloods and landslides in around 70 vulnerable areas.

“All resources are on-board,” he said.

He added they have made contingency plans to assist those who will be affected in case Onyok intensified into a typhoon.

But according to the Severe Weather Bulletin No. 8 issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) issued at 5 p.m. Friday, Onyok has slowed down and weakened and is expected to further weaken into a low pressure area upon landfall in Davao Oriental between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday.

Pagasa said Onyok’s center as of 4 p.m. was estimated at 210 km East of Mati City, Davao Oriental, with maximum winds of 45 kph near the center, down from 55 kph as of 10 a.m., and forecast to move west at 18 kph, down from 20kph as of 10 a.m.

From 23, the number of provinces in Mindanao placed under public storm warning signal 1 went down to 17.

Areas placed under storm signal 1 should expect “light damage to medium to high risk structures, slight damage to some houses of very light materials or makeshift structures in exposed communities, twigs of small trees may be broken, and rice crops, however, may suffer significant damage when it is in its flowering stage”.

Jaldon said officials of coastal barangays have made plans to help them brace for storms and other calamities, including the designation of evacuation areas.

“We have already sent them guidance on what to do,” he said.

In a statement, Department of Social Welfare and Development regional director Priscilla Razon advised all disaster coordinators, cluster heads and staff, to prepare for “disaster operation anytime tomorrow should Davao Region be hit by Typhoon Onyok.”

DSWD 11 information officer Carmela Duron said they have prepared 2,000 food packs to be distributed in Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Compostela Valley.

“We are also repacking more now,” she said.

The agency has mobilized some 1,200 people comprising the agency’s quick response team, she added. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)