• Cebu officials brace for superstorm

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    Government officials in Cebu ordered their respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMC) on Wednesday to prepare for superstorm “Yolanda” which weather forecasters project could be as strong as typhoon “Ruping” that hit Cebu in 1990.

    Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he has instructed the city’s LDRRMC to stand by and prepare for the typhoon.

    He also instructed the Department of Engineering and Public Works to prepare all the heavy equipment, so these can be fielded right away in case of landslides.

    Rama asked the public to be vigilant and immediately evacuate to higher and safer ground once it starts to flood.

    The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 7 also called on everyone to prepare for typhoon “Yolanda” and advised people living in areas at high risk of landslides or flooding to evacuate.

    “We encourage village chiefs and rescue officers to aim for zero casualty. We should be proactive rather than rescue,” Flor Gaviola of OCD 7 said.

    The OCD urged the local disaster management councils to activate their operation centers and ensure their services can be sustained in evacuation centers.

    “They also have to identify alternate evacuation centers in case their first plan would not push through,” Gaviola said.

    The typhoon, known internationally as “Haiyan,” is on track to make landfall in Eastern or Central Visayas late Thursday night or early Friday.

    Engr. Oscar Tabada of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa)-Mactan station said “Yolanda” could bring 20 to 50 millimeters of rain per hour.

    Tabada said the typhoon could bring rain from as far north as Baguio City in Northern Luzon to Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao.

    He said there was a slight chance it might weaken upon landfall, but that it would be best to prepare.

    Its winds were estimated at 158 kilometers per hour (kph), although the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center said the typhoon could bring up to 222-kph winds.

    Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged the faithful to offer prayers and contribute in preventing further damage.

    Palma said cleaning canals and streams can help prevent flooding.

    “We can do a lot of things in the context of being good citizens,” he added. PNA

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