LEGAZPI CITY: The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Bicol is racing against the clock as massive evacuation has been enforced by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) in an effort to attain zero casualty goal of the government here.
Office of Civil Defense director and RDRRMC chairman Bernardo Rafaelito “Raffy” Alejandro told The Manila Times that over 1 million Bicolanos are living in landslides and flood prone areas will be evacuated today before powerful Typhoon Yolanda landfall tomorrow.
Alejandro said that some 1.7 million Bicolanos are living in landslide and flood prone areas need to be evacuated for safety.
In Albay, Army Col. Raul Farnacio, commanding officer of the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade told PDRRMC chairman Gov. Joey Salceda during the disaster conference that 12 military trucks will be deployed for evacuation of the people.
Similarly, Air Force Col. Joannis Dimaano, TOG5-PAF Bicol commander said that its truck will also be augmented for evacuation as well as relief distribution here. Similar measures provided by Naval Forces Southern Luzon (Navforsol) here.
“We will utilize all government assets except helicopters to evacuate hundreds of thousands families living in landslide, flood prone and coastal communities to save them from imminent danger,” Alejandro said.
In Albay, Salceda directed the evacuation of 665,433 people living in coastal areas covering 14 towns and three cities here. First to be evacuated were 320,701 people living in coastal communities according to the governor.
Salceda also ordered the suspension of classes in all levels including suspension of work in all government offices to allow the employees to safeguard their families from powerful typhoon.
“This is in view of the expected interaction of climate and geologic risks due to the impending threat posed by Typhoon Yolanda to the province of Albay and in order to ensure disaster avoidance and to achieve zero casualty,” Salceda said.
The provincial government of Albay provided five kilos of rice to evacuees to compel the people to stay in the safer grounds until Yolanda’s threat is lifted.
The regional command of the Philippine Army in Bicol also activated the Task Group “Sagip” Yolanda entered the country.
Task Group “Sagip” commander, Brig. Gen. Felix Castro Jr., deputy commander of the Army’s Ninth ID deployed the Disaster Response Task Units across the region to assist the people here.