Albay PDDRMO orders evacuation as ‘Ofel’ draws near

LEGAZPI CITY (PNA) – Albay’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) has directed local disaster councils to prepare to evacuate residents in flood- and landslide-prone areas across the province before noon on Wednesday, ahead of the onslaught of Tropical Depression Ofel. 

Cedric Daep, chief of Albay’s Public Safety Emergency and Management Office, said “Ofel” was expected to dump moderate to heavy rains over the province’s second and third districts as it was expected to make landfall in Masbate by noontime Wednesday.

Affected by moderate to heavy rains are towns on the west coast, among them Libon, Oas, Pioduran, including the coastal areas of Manito, and this city.

In an interview, Daep said moderate to heavy rains could endanger communities prone to floods, lahar, and landslides.

He directed local disaster councils to strictly impose health protocols, such as the wearing of face mask and face shield, and physical distancing, when preemptive evacuation is enforced.

While at the evacuation centers, disaster responders need to check the temperature of every evacuee and maintain physical distancing by permitting only four families per room.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has hoisted tropical cyclone wind signal No. 1 in six provinces in the Bicol region.

“Ofel”, with a speed of 25 kph, maximum sustained winds of 45 kph, and gustiness of up to 55 kph, made its first landfall at the vicinity of Can-avid, Eastern Samar at 2:30 a.m. and its second landfall in Matnog, Sorsogon at 6 a.m.

The Philippine Coast Guard has canceled sea transport operations in all ports in Bicol.