No damage, casualties from Auring in Cebu

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A TOTAL of 4,907 individuals or 1,260 families living in various parts of Cebu Province were sent home after Tropical Depression Auring had weakened.

Fair weather is expected in Central Visayas these coming days as Auring has weakened into a low-pressure area (LPA) and will no longer move towards Central Visayas, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa)-Mactan station.

With Auring now an LPA, weather officials also lifted the Tropical Cyclone Signal No. 1 status in Cebu.

Jhomer Eclarino, the weather specialist of Pagasa-Mactan, said their readings show that Central Visayas will have fair weather with sunny, partly cloudy to cloudy.

This is due to the change of track of the LPA (formerly tropical storm Auring) which landed in Northern Samar and then headed toward Albay and Sorsogon.

But he said that the public must still be cautious since there is still a chance of localized thunderstorms, which could be dangerous.

Also, it could still bring rain showers which may cause flashflood and landslides as it will last from one to two hours.

As of press time, he said that the LPA is 50 kilometers Southwest of Legaspi City, Albay, which will bring scattered rain showers in Western Visayas.

Rhee Telen, spokesperson for the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said the evacuated families were from 33 barangays located in nine local government units.

The evacuees were from Danao City and municipalities of Daanbantayan, Bantayan, Tuburan, Poro, Madridejos, San Francisco, Tudela and Sibonga.

Most of those evacuated are living in coastal barangays and those living near the riverside, Telen said.

Telen said no damage, injuries and deaths were reported in Cebu Province due to Auring.

In Cebu City, local officials disclosed that Auring only brought minor damage to a few parts in the city.

Except for the fallen tree at Barangay Sapangdaku and fallen branches, Auring did not wreak damage in Cebu City last weekend, said Ramil Ayuman, acting head of the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

As early as Feb. 18, 2021, the CDRRMO already declared a blue alert status to its personnel, and upgraded it to red alert on the next day, Ayuman said.

The red alert status meant that CDRMMO personnel were already dispatched to landslide and flood prone areas, he said.

Ayuman said the City does not want the Oct. 13, 2020 incident to happen again in which there were three fatalities recorded.

Around 200 street dwellers were also rescued before the weekend. They were housed at the barangay gym in Barangay San Nicolas Proper.

In October 2020, a street dweller was one of the fatalities after he was washed away by the water and was found dead in a waterway along Gen. Maxilom Ave.

Cebu City Agriculturist Joelito Baclayon said Auring hasn’t brought significant damage to the farms in the city.

“No significant damage was brought by Auring to our farmlands. It only brought wind and too much rain,” Baclayon added.

In Mandaue City, no incidents related to Auring were reported during the weekend.

But even if Auring has weakened to an LPA, the Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MCDDRMO) will remained under blue alert until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The MCDRRMO has been on blue alert since Friday, Feb. 19, which forced their personnel to be on standby for 24 hours.

With the lifting of the blue alert, half of their personnel will be able to go home, said MCDRRMO head Buddy Allain Ybañez. (JJL, KFD, ANV / JKV)