Albay braces for potential lahar flow amid threats from Typhoon Tisoy

Marje Pelayo
Albay residents evacuate to safety to get away from the threat of lahar that may be triggered by Typhoon Tisoy on December 1, 2019.

ALBAY, Philippines – The province’s Public Safety Management Office is bracing for possible lahar flow as heavy rainfall continues while Typhoon Tisoy nears landfall in the Bicol Region.

State weather bureau PAGASA has announced the landfall of Tisoy possibly tonight or tomorrow morning (December 3).

Evacuation efforts began on Sunday (December 1) in towns surrounding Mt. Mayon as residents feared a repeat of the disaster brought about by Typhoon Reming in 2006 where thousands of people died and several others remain missing.

In the town of Guinobatan, authorities escorted residents near the volcano’s river channel on board the trucks provided by the local government to evacuation centers.

The area is covered by the 7-km danger zone.

“Kahapon pa lang alam na namin na mag-e-evacuate kami ng linggo, (We were already informed yesterday that we have to evacuate Sunday),” explained Chairman Artemio Oxales of Barangay Maninila.

“Kaya kahapon pa lang nagpe-prepare na ang mga tao katulad ng ayusin nila ang mga bahay nila, itali. Ang iba, kung ano ang dapat gawin para maging safety, (Since yesterday, our people have already been preparing. Some started fixing their houses to ensure safety),” he added.

Several residents have decided to leave on their own.

“Nag-impake na po ng mga gamit ng mga pagkain na dadalhin doon sa evacuation (center). Ang mga bata mas priority na madala na kaagad sa mga evacuation,” said Russel Osorman, a resident of Guinobatan.

(I’ve finished packing our things and some food for our stay at the evacuation center. We prioritized bringing the children to the evacuation center.)

“Medyo nag-aalala po at may kalakasan daw po ang paparating na bagyo, (We’re a bit anxious because reports said the typhoon is strong),” he said.

“Wala pa pong signal number 1 pa lang pinapahanda na kami. Marami nang naghahakot na mga LGU at mga baranggay officials, (Even before the announcement of Signal No. 1, we were asked to prepare. Baranggay officials and staff were helping us),” noted another Guinobatan resident Beatriz Apuyan.

They are temporary staying at Guinobatan East Central School, one of the evacuation centers.

Aside from lahar flow, authorities also advised residents to take appropriate measures for possible flash floods, landslides and storm surges.

According to APSEMO Department Head Cedric Daep, they are constantly reminding the residents to prepare and be alert for the impact of the typhoon.

“Ang paghahanda sa bagyong Tisoy, dalawa ang paghahanda — government and family (Preparing for Typhoon Tisoy involves preparing government and family),” he said.

“Pero mas importante ang family preparedness kasi una naming pinakita sa kanila ano ba yung hazard na delikado sa kanila, (More important is family preparedness. We first educate them on the hazards that they might face ),” he added.

So far, around 15,000 residents were already evacuated ahead of Tisoy’s landfall in the Bicol Region.

The APSEMO and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured that relief items are in place and enough in number to provide the evacuees.

Among the areas under the authorities’ close watch in the region are the towns of Legazpi, Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga and Tiwi. — MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

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