AFP, OCD brace for typhoon Kiko's wrath in northern Luzon

Published September 10, 2021, 1:40 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

As tropical storm “Jolina” exited the country’s area of responsibility (AOR), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) fielded rescue personnel and assets in areas that are expected to be affected by typhoon “Kiko” in northern Luzon as it continued to intensify Friday, September 10.

(Photo courtesy of Northern Luzon Command)

Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), said disaster response teams were placed on alert status ahead of Kiko’s closest approach to the northeastern portion of Cagayan by Friday night.

Rescue personnel and assets as well as communication equipment were also pre-positioned for the possible conduct of evacuation while 1,000 packs of relief goods were repacked and stored in Camp Aquino in Tarlac for distribution to the evacuees, he said.

“Coordinations have been made by our line units with the different local disaster risk reduction and management councils to ensure prompt and synchronized responses whenever and wherever it would be needed,” Burgos noted.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) also cautioned residents in flood- and landslide-prone areas such as Isabela, Cagayan, Apayao, and Batanes among others against the possible effects of Kiko.

OCD spokesperson Mark Timbal said the public should heed the warnings of local government units (LGUs) once notices for evacuation were issued to them.

“If the barangay officials tell them to evacuate becase they are in danger zones, obey them and do not hesitate,” he said.

The official also reminded the residents to continue practicing the minimum public health standards so they would not get infected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We should still wear mask, disinfect, wash our hands, and observe physical distancing up until they reach the evacuation centers,” he said.

Kiko is the 11th typhoon to visit the country this year. The center of the typhoon was located at 220 km northeast of Casiguran, Aurora or 220 km east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan as of 10 a.m. Friday.

It has a maximum sustained winds of 195 km per hour and gustiness of up to 240 km per hour. It was moving west northwest at a speed of 20 km per hour.

Meanwhile, the National Disasater Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the death toll due to typhoon Jolina remained at 14. However, the missing persons went down to seven from 31 while the injured persons climbed to 20 from four.

It said Jolina destroyed P256 million worth of agriculture and P30.67 million worth of infrastructure in Mimaropa (Region 4B), Bicol (Region 5), Western Visayas (Region 6), and Eastern Visayas (Region 8).

More than 109,000 individuals were affected by typhoon Jolina but only 9,797 were still sheltered in evacuation centers as most of them already returned to their homes.