LEGAZPI CITY, Albay: At least 10 families or some 50 persons were evacuated to safer grounds over a threat of lahar ejected by restive Bulusan Volcano while more than 1,000 passengers were stranded in various seaports of Bicol, the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol reported here.
Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro, OCD director and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chairman, said the families evacuated to safety came from Irosin, Sorsogon.
Heavy rainfall in the past few days brought by the weather disturbance here has raised the possibility of the remobilization of volcanic materials ejected by Bulusan Volcano.
Since 9 a.m. on Friday, more than 1,000 passengers were stranded in various seaports in Bicol region as Tropical Storm Karen moved closer to the island province of Catanduanes.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Bicol said there are 621 passengers stranded in Albay, 343 in Sorsogon, 20 in Catanduanes and 141 in Masbate or a total of 1,125.
At least 28 ships, 43 motorized boats and 126 trucks, cars and buses were also stranded after the PCG suspended from sailing all types of sea craft operating in the region.
Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara suspended classes in pre-school for private and public schools here.
He also strictly enforced the no-sailing policy to all fishermen while residents in coastal villages in the eastern seaboard of the province were alerted to avoid storm surges and put in place safety measures since Albay is included in the area placed under Public Storm Warning Signal No. 1 by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
Tropical Storm Karen has further intensified as it continues to move closer to Catanduanes with estimated amount of rainfall from moderate to heavy within the 400 km diameter of the Tropical Storm.
Pagasa has raised Public Storm Warning Signal No. 2 over the provinces of Catanduanes and Camarines Sur.
The provinces of Camarines Norte and Sorsogon were also placed under Public Storm Warning Signal No. 1.
A police report said a flashflood hit Barangay Lubas in San Andres town, Catanduanes because of heavy rainfall but the road there remained passable to light vehicles at this writing.
Airport operations in the cities of Legazpi, Naga and Masbate remained normal on Friday except in Catanduanes where some flights were canceled after Pagasa raised Public Storm Warning Signal No. 1 over the province on Friday.
RHAYDZ B. BARCIA