Signal No. 1 up in Caraga provinces due to TS Auring; residents seek shelter in evacuation centers
BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 20 (PIA) — Tropical Storm (TS) Auring is now on Tropical Wind Cyclone Signal (TWCS) No. 1 in Caraga region and is expected to make landfall on Saturday night or Sunday morning. But in the Surigao provinces, where the storm is expected to hit, residents have started to seek shelter in evacuation centers.
As of 4:00 am of Saturday, February 20, the Caraga Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) reports that 742 families or 2,992 individuals from 27 barangays in ten municipalities in the province of Surigao del Sur are now sheltered in the evacuation centers identified by their respective local government units (LGUs).
Bayabas town Mayor Clarita Garcia-Limbaro said that identified evacuation centers in their town remain insufficient to house all of their evacuees, which have now totaled to 432 families, per its latest DRRM report.
“As a coastal town, our residents predominantly reside in coastal areas. And although some barangays have identified more than one evacuation center, it still isn’t enough to accommodate all of our evacuees,” the mayor said.
Cagwait town mayor Lilian Lozada said they have started preparing food packs since yesterday to be distributed to evacuating residents.
In Surigao del Norte, a total of 494 families of 1,838 individuals from nine barangays in four towns are sheltered in nine identified evacuation centers. The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), together with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), continues to monitor disaster-prone areas.
On the other hand, residents in this city have also made pre-empted evacuation, as the city is known for being flood-prone. Five families or 17 individuals from five barangays have now been evacuated in five evacuation centers.
Eleven individuals or two families from low-lying areas in the municipality of Buenavista in Agusan del Norte have also been evacuated.
Meanwhile, various DRRMOs in the rest of Caraga region have activated their emergency operation centers (EOCs) in light of TS Auring.
All PDRRMOs of the four provinces in the region and the City DRRMO of Butuan continue to coordinate with their Local DRRMOs and Barangay RDRRMCs for monitoring and provision of the latest advisories while warnings and advisories are continuously being disseminated to the public.
In Agusan del Norte, rescue vehicles consisting of four dump trucks are now on standby at Sanghan Motorpool ready for deployment.
The PDRRMO of Dinagat Islands has activated the Blue Alert Status of the Provincial EOC and conducted clearing operations for potential hazards in their Provincial Care and Containment Center (PCCC).
Food and non-food items and medicines have already been prepositioned by the Surigao del Norte PDRRMO, as well as search and rescue equipment.
The Butuan CDRRMO has already prepositioned non-food items consisting of 1,135 blankets; 963 plastic mats; 1,115 cooking pots; 7,536 plastic plates; 7,344 plastic drinking cups; 4,857 stainless steel utensils; and 1,467 family bags, as well as 2,000 family food packs. Close monitoring of the water level in the Agusan River is also being conducted.
The RDRRMC continues to coordinate with the Department of Health (DOH) Caraga and local health offices for the strict implementation and observance of COVID-19 health protocols in evacuation centers.
Meanwhile, calamity response government agencies continue to prepare for needed augmentation. The provincial offices of the BFP continue to monitor landslide- and flood-prone areas. The 402nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army is ready to deploy their disaster response teams comprising of a nine-men team in Camp Lemuel Rubi in Butuan City and another from the 23rd Infantry Battalion in Alubihid, Buenavista in Agusan del Norte. A total of three M35 trucks are on standby for logistical support. (DMNR/PIA-Caraga)