THOUSANDS of families in the provinces of Camarines Sur and Albay were forced to leave their homes as tropical depression “Amang” dumped more rains in large areas of the country.
“Amang,” the country’s first storm this year, on Sunday night made landfall in Surigao del Norte.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration said “Amang” will spread moderate to heavy rains over Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, and Bicol Region.
Families living in flood-and-landslide-prone areas were asked to leave their homes and temporarily stay at the designated evacuation centers for their safety.
Buhi, Camarines Sur Mayor Margarita Aguinillo ordered the forced evacuation of 150 families in the three sitios of Bgy. Ipil, a remote village at the boundary of Tiwi in Albay.
Last December 31, a landslide triggered by heavy downpour brought by “Usman” killed over 11 abaca farmers and their children in Bgy. Ipil.
The Environmental Disaster Management and Emergency Response Office in Camarines Sur has conducted a pre-emptive evacuation of about 1,084 people from the 14 villages in the eight towns.
Aguinillo convened representatives from the National Irrigation Administration, PAGASA, and the local government to warn Lake Buhi residents of flooding after PAGASA on Saturday announced that “Amang” was expected to bring rains in Bicol.
Rains dumped by “Usman” last month caused the lake to spill into populated areas, increasing the total death toll in Buhi town to 29.
In Albay, Tiwi Mayor Jaime Villanueva also ordered a forced evacuation of residents in Bgys. Maynonon and Dapdap, where Mines and Geosciences Bureau experts found cracks, measuring over 100-meters in length, on the highlands.
Villanueva said over 30 families were evacuated from Bgy. Maynonon while over 300 families remained in evacuation centers since early this month.
About 18 deaths were recorded in Albay, mostly from landslides in Tiwi municipality.
The Office of the Civil Defense - Bicol said that governors of the provinces of Albay, Masbate, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte have ordered the suspension of classes in all levels yesterday in anticipation of heavy rains brought by “Amang.”
Naga City Mayor John Garcia Bongat also ordered the suspension of classes in the kindergarten, preparatory and elementary school levels.
The Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office warned residents at the base of Mt. Mayon to avoid river arteries and gullies of the volcano.
Albay volcanologist Ed Laguerta said 20-million cubic-meter debris from previous Mayon eruption could cascade from the volcano during heavy rains.
1,757 PASSENGERS STRANDED AT PORTS
A total of 1,757 passengers were stranded in different ports in Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Eastern Visayas and Southern Visayas due to “Amang.”
The Philippine Coast Guard said that aside from stranded passengers, 347 rolling cargos, 55 vessels and 11 motorbancas were prevented to sail in the areas.
The PCG advised all Coast Guard Stations in the affected areas to strictly implement Memorandum Circular 02-13 (Guidelines on Movement of Vessels during Heavy Weather).
PAGASA said moderate to heavy rains would prevail over Eastern Visayas and Bicol Region until today.
With Itchie Cabayan