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'Juan' downs communication lines in Isabela and Cagayan

October 18, 2010 3:55pm

Tags: Cagayan
Super typhoon "Juan" (Megi) may have crippled as much as 90 percent of communications facilities in Isabela and Cagayan provinces, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said on Monday.

Tropical Cyclone Warning:
Typhoon "JUAN" (MEGI)
Monday, 18 October 2010, 5 p.m.
(100-185 kph winds)
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • Apayao
  • Kalinga
  • Ifugao
  • Quirino
  • Nueva Viscaya
  • Benguet
  • Mt. Province
  • Abra
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Ilocos Sur
  • La Union
(60-100 kph winds)
  • Batanes
  • Babuyan
  • Calayan Group
  • Pangasinan
  • Nueva Ecija
  • Aurora
  • Tarlac
(30-60 kph winds)
  • Zambales
  • Pampanga
  • Bataan
  • Bulacan
  • Rizal
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Northern Quezon
  • Polilio Island
  • Batangas
  • Metro Manila
NTC spokesman Paolo Arceo cited reports from telecom firms as of 2:30 p.m. indicating it may take as many as five days to restore the communication facilities.

"Medyo masama, hard hit ang areas na ito. They are pegging it at 90 percent damage so mahirap makipag-communicate sa areas na ito as of this time," he said in an interview on dzBB radio.

(These areas were hit hard. The telcos are pegging the damage at 90 percent so it is hard to communicate with those areas.)

Thousands of families in Isabela and Cagayan provinces were evacuated to safety as super typhoon "Juan" made landfall swept across Northern Luzon on Monday.

According to an Associated Press report, Juan is carrying "ferocious winds and heavy rainfall" and is the most powerful typhoon to threaten the country in four years. In 2006, typhoon Reming's 250 kph winds set off mudslides that buried entire villages and killed about 1,000 people, mostly in the Bicol region.

Packing maximum winds of 225 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center, Typhoon Juan is estimated to have a rainfall rate of 50 to 65 millimeters of rain per hour. It is expected to exit the country from the Ilocos Sur and La Union areas towards the South China Sea on Tuesday morning.

Five days to restore lines

When asked when the cell phone operations in affected areas will become normal, Arceo said, "siguro in about five days (perhaps in about five days)."

He added that while the telcos gave a best-scenario repair period of six hours, they still have to determine the extent of the problem.

For now, Arceo said NTC has launched "Oplan Bayanihan," coordinating with civic groups using two-way radios.

"They will give us updates, situationers on the ground. The NTC will pass on the information to the Office of Civil Defense," he said.

On the other hand, he said the NTC expects damage to communications in La Union and other Northern Luzon provinces as "Juan" passes through them Monday evening.

"We expect as the weather disturbance moves towards La Union, baka magkaroon ng feedback (We expect feedback on damage in areas like La Union and other areas 'Juan' will pass through)," he said. –RSJ/VVP/HS, GMANews.TV
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Tags: Cagayan