Disaster agencies prepare for ‘Urduja’


THE Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has alerted its regional offices for the heavy rainfall, landslides and flashfloods expected from Tropical Depression “Urduja” expected to make landfall on Friday evening or early Saturday morning, an official said on Wednesday.

Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, OCD administrator, said that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has not raised the blue alert but left it to the OCD regional offices to determine whether to issue a warning.

“Urduja,” as well as the tail-end of a cold front, are expected to bring scattered to widespread rainshowers and thunderstorms, which may trigger flooding and landslides over the Visayas and the Bicol region.

“In the national level, we are looking into the preparedness in the local level and the regional level. We are providing local government units advisories, as well as out regional offices,” Jalad told a news conference in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

He cited a looming weather disturbance that would follow Urduja and may make landfall in the eastern area of the Visayas on December 22, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

But the two tropical depressions should not be cause for worry, he said.

“[The second tropical depression] might affect Sorsogon and Northern Samar so there might be a cancellation of ferry rides. The public must be wary while planning their trips ahead because they might be stranded especially those who will come to their respective hometowns like what happened in December last year,” Jalad said.

Before the press conference, an emergency response preparedness meeting was held at the OCD office in Camp Aguinaldo that was participated in by Pagasa, the Philippine Institute on Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Health (DoH), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Jalad said the NDRRMC has advised its regional and local DRRM offices to take precautionary measures “as necessary.” DEMPSEY REYES



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