Typhoon Ruby evacuees in Albay to reach 600,000

LEGAZPI CITY, Dec. 6 — The provincial government of Albay on Saturday morning continued evacuating residents who are threatened by strong winds, mud and lahar flows, floods, landslides and storm surges. Those ordered to evacuate may reach about 600,000 people.

Governor Jose Salceda on Friday issued a directive to government troops and disaster responders to start evacuation that should be finished on or before Saturday night, when typhoon “Ruby” was originally estimated to make a landfall.

Albay evacuees being hauled to safety. Photo credit: from facebook page of Gov. Salceda.

Some 30 military trucks from Office of Civil Defense were being used for evacuation of 183,180 families or close to 600,000 people.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has committed 73 military vehicles, 1,223 troops, 2 ambulances and 3 rubber boats to be sent to the 9th Infantry Division command post for Typhoon “Ruby” based in Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola here for disaster response operation all over the Bicol Region, according to Brig. Gen. Felix Castro Jr., Task Force Sagip commander.

Based on the record of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, at least 57,421 families would be affected by floodings; 14,546 families, by landslides; 37,704, lahar and mud flows; 27,154, storm surges; and 46,335, strong winds (families with light material houses).

Salceda’s directive came after Ruby (international name: Hagupit) slowed down with 700-km-diameter coverage area, packing maximum winds of 215 kph and gustiness of 250 kilometer per hour.

Lilian Guillermo, officer-in-charge of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in Bicol, told disaster officials here in a briefing Friday afternoon that heavy-to-intense rains will cause massive flooding and could trigger landslides across the region.

“Albay is placed on red alert with expected rainfall of 55-60 mm per hour. Coastal waters along the seaboards and eastern coast of Albay will experience storm surges, so be ready,” she said.

Guillermo said Ruby slowed down and this would the typhoon much more time to develop and gain strength, specifically that she is within the ocean.

“This would give us more time to prepare for Ruby’s arrival, but we must anticipate stronger winds and heavy rainfall. Remember that the longer a typhoon stays in the ocean, the greater it generates stronger winds — making it more powerful by the time it makes landfall within the landmass,” Guillermo explained.

Ed Laguerta, Bicol Phivolcs volcanologist, also warned disaster officials that with intense rainfall, an upper-level landslide from Mayon might occurthat could remobilize the volcano’s old volcanic debris.

Meanwhile, in Sorsogon province, the port of Matnog was declared a no-man’s zone, grounding all sea vessels in all seaports in the region for safety.

The Office of Civil Defense and Philippine Coast Guard in Bicol grounded all forms of sea transportation in all seaports to prevent possible eventualities.

In Albay province, all sea vessels took refuge in Sula channel in Cagraray Island, Bacacay town.(based on PNA report)


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