Albay braces for abnormal rainfall


LEGAZPI CITY  – The Albay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) announced that alert monitoring status is still in effect due to abnormal weather condition.

In a breakfast meeting of Governor Joey Salceda with his disaster risk reduction management team, he said that weather condition in the province of Albay according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) will be erratic in the next three months due to the Tail End of the Cold Front (TECF).

“Proof of this is the latest weather anomaly in several parts of the province where three casualties were recorded,” he said.

The more than normal amount of rainfall aggravated by the effects of La Nina can cause flooding, landslides, and lahar flows.

The governor also instructed all city and municipal DRRMC to invest in disaster preparedness by utilizing 70 percent of their local calamity fund including the 30-percent emergency mobilization fund for acquiring emergency equipment of tools.

The province is expected to experience more heavy rains in the next few days.

The DRRMC is conducting daily meeting to make sure the effective response and delivery of services to possible affected population.

Salceda reiterated his request to PAGASA to establish a titling or naming system and warning/alert signal system for TECF, Low Pressure Area (LPA) and Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

“These three warning signals are major hazards because they are just typhoons without winds,” he said.

He explained that heavy rain causes more damages – 80 percent of casualties and damages come from water and only 20 percent from wind. “If you analyze the casualties of Juan and Basyang (from death certificates record), the majority is from “asphyxiation due to drowning” and far second is from fallen trees.

For the past four years, Salceda said, disasters with no names have been the bigger challenge to Albay than typhoons. “They are far more treacherous because people are not alerted and not systemically triggered to prepare unlike when there is tropical storm signal number 2 for Typhoon Basyang, for example. Handling them has been far trickier for Albay – always at the risk of losing our institutional credibility- it seems over acting – “walang naman bagyo pero nagprepreemptive evacuation ang Albay”.

Cedric Daep of the Albay Provincial Safety and Emergency Management Office is conducting a series of retraining of residents for Oplan Zero Casualty in various municipalities specially in the landslide and flash floods prone areas.

The first leg of the of Oplan Zero Casualty retraining started Monday, Jan. 3 in the municipality of Malilipot attended by residents from the barangays of Calbayog, San Roque, San Jose, Sta. Teresa, San Francisco and Binitayan.

Daep said the priority for retraining are those from identified high risk areas from landslide, flashfloods and lahar.

The Albay Provincial Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) reported that a total of 56,384 families are in high risk areas for flooding; 12,040 for landslides and 172,665 families for lahar.

Meanwhile, Nong Rangasa, executive director of the Center for Initiative and Research on Climate Change Adaptation (CIRCA), recommended to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay to pass an ordinance seeking a five-year moratorium on cutting of trees in the entire province.

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