By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
Albay Governor Joey Salceda has reviewed all contingency plans of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) in preparation for approaching tropical storm “Chedeng” (international name: Songda) which is expected to lash Bicol region with heavy rains this week.
Ahead of Chedeng, PDRRMC and the Bicol Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) are pre-positioning military trucks to help evacuate residents once there is an advice.
A regional meeting of DRRMCs was conducted at the Office of Civil Defense at Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola Monday morning to facilitate evaluation and sharing of resources as well as planning coordination among the local disaster councils from the village to the regional levels.
“There is too much public fixation on both landfall and wind strength but from our countless experiences with even low pressure areas (LPAs), tropical depressions (TDs), and tail end of a cold front (TECF), they are killing more people than typhoons because of floods,” Salceda said during the meeting.
Tropical storm “Bebeng,” for example, devastated Bicol by P1.2 billion in agriculture and infrastructure facilities, aside from loss of lives, the governor said.
“This time, we are considering the following as basis for our disaster avoidance for Chedeng to achieve zero casualty goal. Chedeng will be much stronger than Bebeng which entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) only as an LPA before it battered Bicol as tropical storm while Chedeng is coming in as tropical storm possibly pointing to Catanduanes,” according to Salceda.
“Since we are already very wet due to Bebeng et al (cumulative rainfall at 301 mm as of May 16 vs. normal of 130 mm), probability of floods and flashfloods are higher especially since hindi pa ganap na humupa ang mga tatlong lakes ng Camarines Sur (Bato, Baao and now Milaor) – so instead of serving as drainage, it could cause a back flow,” Salceda warned.
Like Bebeng, the governor said Chedeng will induce the onset of southwest monsoon (“habagat”), thus further enhancing rains and winds. “And this was what happened during Bebeng and caused the massive floods in Polangui, Libon and Oas towns at the western part of Albay.”
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Chedeng has a much wider rainband or circular flow than Bebeng.