CAMP SIMEON OLA, LEGAZPI CITY-- Stranded passengers in major ports in the Bicol provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Camarines Sur have reached 8,000 after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) cancelled all the trips of commercial vessels and warned fishery vessels of gigantic waves and sea surges, after tropical storm “Urduja” intensified into a severe tropical storm on Thursday.
Office of the Civil Defense regional director Claudio Yucot reported that as of Friday stranded passengers at Matnog Port, Sorsogon have reached nearly 3,000, while the line of trucks and buses along the Maharlika Highway leading to Matnog Port was estimated at 3kilometers.
Yucot said, they have asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region-5 office to provide food packs to stranded passengers travelling to Allen, Samar, who complained of meager cash allowance for food.
While in Tabaco City Port stranded passengers have swelled to over 2, 000 mostly bound for Catanduanes province have been moved for shelter to Tabaco City National High School, City-DRRMO, head Jerry Molato said, they moved the passengers to the facilities of the national high-school due to risk of sea surges at the Matnog Port compound.
Molato said the Tabaco City government and Catanduanes province government have traditionally shared responsibility for providing beddings, shelter, food and transportation to stranded passengers during typhoons.
OCD regional chief Yucot alerted disaster agencies all over Bicol on flash floods, landslides as Urduja’s rain-band expanded to 500 kms. in circumference. Meanwhile Lucela “Chie” Bermeo, head of the PDRRMO C. Sur, said about 100 personnel of the C. Sur “Incident Management Team” consisting of rescue workers, the PNP, Army and first-aid teams have been fielded in high-risk areas of Iriga City, Sagñay, Balatan, Lagonoy, all C. Sur localities with numerous prone-disaster areas. She said the teams will readily augment the LGUs disaster response teams, once needed.
In Buhi, C. Sur, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) personnel Antonio Aguinillo reported on Friday, that strong lake currents brought by “Urduja’s” continued rains resulted in a fish kill since Thursday, affecting lake side villages across Buhi town proper where most tilapia fish cages are located.
Aguinillo said tilapia prices dropped from P120 to P 20 per/kilo at Buhi public market. Reportedly the fish kill was caused by a drop in dissolved oxygen level, when polluted residue from fish feeds at the lake bottom was stirred by strong water current.
BFAR has yet to assess the value of damages from the fish kill in Lake Buhi since Thursday.