ILOILO CITY: A total of 21 coastal barangays here were instructed on Thursday to be on alert for possible storm surges and giant waves.
Similarly, residents of 14 city barangays along the rivers, which are prone to flooding were also advised to seek higher grounds as a pre-emptive measure as the city prepares for the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the super typhoon packing wind gustiness of some 250 kilometers per hour emanates from Mindanao area and expected to pass the Visayas islands including the northern part of Panay Island on Friday noon.
Mabilog also ordered the suspension of classes in all levels on Friday and city hall employees were allowed to go home by Thursday afternoon with no office work on Friday too.
Only members of the city’s disaster risk reduction and management council (CDRRMC) are enjoined to report at the command post at the cityhall.
Mabilog called the attention of barangay captains to prepare their residents in coastal barangays of Bitoon in Jaro district; Hinactacan, Banuyao and Ingore in La Paz district; Loboc and Bo. Obrero in Lapuz dfistrict; Gen. Hughes, Ortiz, Ma. Clara, Rizal Ibarra, Palapala 1, Palapala 2, and Rizal Estazuela in the city proper; North Baluarte, South baluarte, Boulevard, San Juan, Calumpang and Calaparan in Molo district; and Santo Norte and Santo Nino Sur in Arevalo district.
Resident of barangays Ungca, Sambag, San Isidro, Tabuc Suba, Dungon B, Dungon A. Calubihan and Desamparados in Jaro district; Bakhaw and Bolilao in Madurriao district; Magsaysay Village in La Paz district; and Calajunan, Sooc, and Navais in Mandurriao district were also cautioned to be prepared.
Mabilog allayed fears of residents by assuring that the CDRRMC and the city government are on top of disaster preparedness. He said the council members would be mobilized to report 24 hours on Friday and Saturday for immediate information on disaster and effects of the super typhoon.
The city social welfare office is ready with food packs, city health office with medicines, city engineer and general services offices ready with vehicles and equipment for immediate disaster response, city police office ready to render assistance and the Philippine Red Cross and Iloilo City Emergency Response for emergency aid and rescue operations.
Evacuation centers were mobilized in all district covered gymnasiums, barangay gyms and barangay halls, public schools and the University of Iloilo ground floor for displaced residents.
The Philippine Coast Guard also reported that fast crafts and ferryboats plying to Guimaras and Bacolod City were already alerted to stop operation on Thursday afternoon until Saturday morning.
Typhoon Yolanda is expected to leave the Visayas area on Sunday morning.