LGUs told: Heed Lessons of Previous Tragic Storms

December 3, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Loren Legarda urged local government units (LGU) Monday to prepare for typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha) to avoid a repeat of calamities of previous destructive storms, including tropical storm Sendong which hit Mindanao almost one year ago.
“Let us heed the warning and the lessons of Ondoy, Pepeng and Sendong,” Legarda said referring to the three strong storms that hit the country in the past years and left thousands dead with thousands more displaced and homeless.
Sendong alone, which struck the Mindanao region in mid-December last year, killed more than a thousand people and caused more than P1 billion in damages to infrastructure and agriculture.
Tropical storm Ondoy, which hit Central Luzon including the National Capital Region in 2009, left more than 400 dead, caused widespread flooding, and around P11 billion in damages.
Pepeng, which also hit in 2009, ravaged northern Luzon and caused more than P27 billion in damages to infrastructure and agriculture.
Pablo is poised to hit Mindanao as it maintains its strength. It is expected to be the strongest storm to hit the country this year.
Several provinces have already been placed under signal number 3, according to the 11 a.m. weather bulletin of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Siargao, Dinagat, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Davao Oriental are all under signal number 3, Pagasa said.
More areas in the Visayas and Mindanao have been placed under signal number 2 and 1 as Pablo moves closer towards the country.
“Our LGUs already know the disaster-prone areas based on their geo-hazard maps. Early warning should work to save lives and properties,” Legarda said in a statement Monday.
“People and settlements at risk of landslides should be relocated ahead of heavy rains. Risk awareness and political will are very important,” she said.
Pablo was seen 550 kilometers southeast of Hintuan, Surigao del Norte, and was moving West Northwestward at a speed of 24 kilometers per hour (kph), according to Pagasa’s weather bulletin.
Maximum sustained winds of 175 kph with gustiness of up to 210 kph, has been recorded by Pagasa. It also estimates rainfall of 15 to 30 millimeters per hour considered as heavy to intense, within the 600 kilometer diameter of the Typhoon.
“Pagasa is doing its best, and our monitoring and warning systems have greatly improved over the past few years,” Legarda said.
“Let us pay attention to the news reports and help each other by disseminating information, whether through radio, text, television, or social networking sites. Let us also remember to relay only verified and official information so as not to create confusion,” she added.

Source: Matikas Santos (INQUIREr.net)