PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte yesterday directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to alert all its quick response and relief agencies so they can immediately assist people in the path of tropical storm Urduja.
DSWD Acting Secretary Emmanuel Leyco said that the President also directed other agencies of government to help victims of the calamity.
Leyco also said that Duterte wants zero casualty and minimized damage in areas threatened by the storm. The government previously allocated standby fund of P762 million to be used for food packs for families residing in storm affected areas, he said.
“Na-mobilize na po natin ang ating mga tauhan at sila ngayon ay kumikilos na, na-activate na po natin ang ating disaster response cluster, nagmeeting kami kagabi. Ngayon ho ay ibinababa na rin ‘yung mga karagdagang pondo at karagdagang food packs para po matugunan ‘yung mga karagdagang pangangailangan,” Leyco said. Also yesterday, Malacanang urged the local folks to be affected by tropical storm “Urduja” (international name: Kai-Tak) to take extra care and cooperate with their local authorities to ensure their safety.
Three people, including a two-year-old child, were reported to have died due to the effects of Tropical Storm Urduja, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. However, the number of reported fatalities is still being “validated” by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, said NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad at a press briefing in Quezon City. Citing initial information, Jalad said that the child reportedly drowned in Mahaplag, Leyte flood. Another victim was reported to have died in a landslide, also in Leyte. Meanwhile, one of the two fishermen earlier reported missing was found off the coast of Dinagat Islands, Jalad said.
Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar called on the public to keep themselves informed on the latest on the storm that is currently dumping heavy rains in eastern parts of Visayas, Bicol and Southern Luzon regions.
“Tayo po ay mag-ingat. Itong bagyo po na nakaambang bumayo sa ating karagatan, sa ating isla, ang gawin po natin ay pakinggan po natin ang ating mga barangay tanod, pakinggan po natin ang ating disaster coordinating council diyan sa mga munisipyo, sa rehiyon,” Andanar said
“But it’s very important for us to listen to our barangay captains, to our municipal mayors at lahat po ng mga (and all our) local government units. Sila po ay nakahanda para po tulungan tayong lahat ,” he added. Apart from initial reports of fatalities, the NDRRMC said it has also received information about missing and injured people due to landslides.
Six are reported missing – three from Eastern Samar, and three due to a landslide in Biliran, Leyte, according to Jalad.
Also, he said that four were reported injured in Leyte landslides, two in Biliran and two in Tacloban. Meanwhile, 11,101 travelers, 1,322 rolling cargoes, 52 vessels and 33 motor bancas have been stranded in ports in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western and Eastern Visayas, and the National Capital Region. A total of 8,831 families were preemptively evacuated to 141 evacuation centers.
Storm Urduja made landfall in Eastern Samar at around 1:30 p.m. It also threatens Sorsogon province, PAGASA said.
In its 11 a.m. advisory, PAGASA said that the weather disturbance was forecast to move west at a much faster speed of 15 kilometers per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 80 kph near the center and gusts of up to 110 kph.
Urduja was last estimated to be 75 km east-northeast of Borongan City, Eastern Samar or 120 km east-southeast of Catarman, Northern Samar.A total of 29 areas are now under storm signals, PAGASA said.
PAGASA said tropical cyclone warning signal No. 2 had been raised over Aklan, Capiz, and northern Iloilo. The same warning signal was earlier raised over Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate (including Burias and Ticao islands), Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, and Leyte.
Signal No. 1 has also been raised over Mindoro provinces. The same warning signal was earlier raised over Quezon, Marinduque, Romblon, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, rest of Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, northern Negros Oriental, Cebu, northern Bohol, Southern Leyte, and Dinagat Islands.