TROPICAL storm Gorio (international codename: Rubia) neither caused death nor injuries in areas it hit over the weekend, something that disaster mitigation officials said was a “record first” in recent history.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Eduardo del Rosario on Sunday said that Gorio was the first cyclone that inflicted no casualties in provinces it ravaged.
“I think this is the first time that we have a zero casualty whenever a tropical storm hit our country. This is the first time,” he said.
Del Rosario, who is also the concurrent administrator of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) attributed the zero casualty to the preparations made by various local government units and the NDRRMC as well as the accurate forecasting of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
“Pagasa was very accurate in their forecasting which is why we were able to give early forecast and warnings to places where the storm will be passing,” he added.
In Malacañang, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has set aside P137.78 million worth of emergency relief resources consisting of standby funds and some 39,959 family food packs, other food and non-food items for the National Capital Region, Regions 3, 4-A/4-B, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 13 or the Caraga Region.
The DSWD, Philippine Coast Guard, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the NDRRMC were alerted days before “Gorio” made landfall, she added
Valte said that President Benigno Aquino 3rd is satisfied with disaster preparations.
“The President was monitoring the effects of the weather or the path of the storm until, I think, past midnight po [until]kaninang madaling araw at ina-update ng mga iba’t ibang ahensya ang Pangulo kung ano na po ang mga nagawa sa mga rehiyon na apektado,” she said.
The storm made landfall on Saturday in Samar. It packed a maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometer per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.
According to Del Rosario, the storm caused minimal damage to properties and infrastructure, although it left several towns in Eastern Samar without power, triggered a landslide in Biliran province and washed away a Vietnam-registered ship in Bicol.
The storm caused floodings in Metro Manila that subsided on Sunday morning.
The storm affected 2,309 families or 11,691 people in Region 5 and stranded 9,439 passengers in Bicol and Eastern Visayas.
Metro Manila was spared from threats of massive flooding as the storm changed course and headed towards the sea.
However, Sunday remained a wet day for metro residents as it rained overnight and light rain continued over many parts of the city.
Pagasa Acting Administrator Vicente Malano said Gorio was initially projected to affect northern Metro Manila but affected the south instead.
“Kung naging north of Metro Manila ito, kagaya ng Ondoy, magbubuhos ng maraming tubig at magdudulot ng baha,” Malano said in a radio interview.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino said that some areas in Metro Manila were hit by flood on Sunday.
Nearly 12,0000 people from five towns in Albay province were evacuated on Saturday during the onslaught of typhoon Gorio.
The NDRRMC identified the towns as Santo Domingo, Libon, Oas, Pio Duran and Jovellar where 11,691 people (2,309 families) were evacuated to centers and safe holding areas.
The storm also left six towns in Bataan—Samal, Pilar, Orion, Limay, Bagac and Morong—and the City of Balanga, without electricity on Sunday.
Before the power outage in Balanga City, fire broke out at the service line in barangay San Jose, burning portions of some electric wires. Residents said the Bureau of Fire Protection immediately responded using fire extinguishers.
WITH REPORTS FROM FRANCIS EARL CUETO AND ERNIE B. ESCONDE