Siargao mayor orders preemptive evacuation

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 15 Dec) – The mayor of this surfing capital has ordered the preemptive evacuation of those living close to the shorelines as the island braces for the impact of Typhoon “Odette,” which is expected to hit the island Thursday afternoon.

A worker reinforces the glass doors and windows of a lodging house in Pilar town in Siargao Island with plywood on Wednesday (15 December 2021) as residents brace for the impact of Typhoon “Odette.” MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO | Click for more pictures in Siargao

“I told people to leave their dwellings effective today, Wednesday [15 December 2021]. This includes accommodations and resorts,” Mayor Cecilia Rusillon told MindaNews over the phone.

Rusillon said several people have already moved to designated evacuation centers.

“People living in danger zones should evacuate immediately. They should not wait for the storm to come. We should ensure the safety of everyone,” the mayor said.

“We have sent notices to people living close to coastal waters. Those living within 200 meters from the shorelines should evacuate now,” she stressed.

Jing Gorgonio, of the municipality’s Business Permit Licensing Office, said they have been sending door-to-door notices to establishments and residents near the sea.

He said they also gave out a list of establishments in safer places – those situated farther from the sea and in elevated areas – so people can seek refuge there.

“We are requesting people to coordinate with us and heed our request,” Gorgonio said in an interview.

Prudencio Meras, of Purok 3 in General Luna whose house is located at the beach front, said his entire family is evacuating to Dapa town for safety. “Nothing is more important than safety. It’s okay if our houses will be destroyed as long as none of us dies,” he added.

April Cuadra, owner of Balay Yohom restaurant and accommodation in Catangnan, had temporarily closed shop since Tuesday. “Safety is our topmost priority and we had to shut our operations to prepare ourselves ahead,” she said. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)