At least 16,000 families were evacuated in the Legazpi City, Albay on Chrismas Day as powerful Typhoon Nina (international name Nock-Ten) made landfall over Catanduanes Sunday evening.
Legazpi City was one of the high-risk areas identified by local governments. Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said up to 20,000 families could be evacuated if the weather worsens.
The city has prepared up to 25 evacuation centers for the displaced families. Rosal said Albay is not the center of Nina but the typhoon is strong at 185 kilometers per hour.
In a 7 p.m. alert, state weather bureau PAGASA said Nina made made landfall over Bato town at 6:30 p.m. The typhoon maintained its strength in the past hours, endangering the province of Catanduanes.
PAGASA hoisted a cyclone warning Signal No. 4 over Camarines Sur and Catanduanes.
The US military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said Nina is a super typhoon with winds of up to 250 kph (135 knots) and gusts of up to 305 kph (164 knots) as of Christmas morning (Manila time).
PAGASA, meanwhile, said Nina has maximum sustained winds of 185 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 255 kph.
4,400 Families Evacuated in Tabaco City Due to Typhoon Nina
In Tabaco City, Albay, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) said a total of 4,458 evacuees belonging to 1,726 families of Tabaco City are now occupying the various evacuation centers due to the impending entry of severe tropical storm “Nina” in the Bicol region.
“Evacuation efforts are still on-going. We have just prioritized residents along the coastal areas which are vulnerable to storm surges, and those along highlands which are vulnerable to landslides,” said Hugo Buen of Tabaco City’s Communications Development Unit and CDRRMC.
CDRRMC-Tabaco has activated 48 schools in the city, with 339 classrooms, to be used as evacuation shelters. As of the moment, evacuation efforts are still on-going and CDRRMO-Tabaco looks to complete evacuation before nightfall.
The CDRRMC of Tabaco City, however, do admit that much is still to be done before they can reach their target. They acknowledge the fact that there are some residents of identified hazard zones that needs convincing in order to agree to evacuate.
Moreover, due to the suspension of sea travel as of Saturday night, a total of 700 passengers were left stranded at Tabaco City’s sea-port.
According to the CDRRMC, most of the said stranded passengers have been transported to the safety of the evacuation center at Tabaco National High School.
“Though, not all stranded passengers opted to stay at the evacuation centers. Many chose to stay with their relatives here in Tabaco,” clarified Buen. As of the moment, only 538 of the 700 travelers are confirmed to have stayed at the evacuation site.
“The number of evacuees is still growing as of the moment. Once we have more solid data, we will shift our attention to relief efforts. For now, we focus more on getting everyone to safety,” said Buen. – BusinessNewsAsia.com