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'Chedeng' now in PHL; govt ready for storm's effects

May 23, 2011 8:04am
Tropical Storm Chedeng (international codename Songda) entered Philippine territory before dawn Monday, even as authorities declared themselves ready to deal with its effects.

Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration forecaster Rene Paciente said their models showed Chedeng may get near the Bicol Region Wednesday and make its way toward northeastern Luzon.

"Sa ngayon hindi pa makakaapekto sa atin sa loob ng 36 hours. Didikit (ito) sa eastern section ng Luzon. Inaasahan natin tatama sa northern Luzon (It will not directly affect any part of the country for the next 36 hours. But we expect it to move towards the eastern section of Luzon and make its way to Northern Luzon)," Paciente said in an interview on dzBB radio.

Paciente said Chedeng entered Philippine territory at about 2 a.m. Monday. He also said they expect Chedeng to continue gathering strength and be a major threat in the next 24 hours.



PAGASA's 5 a.m. advisory said that as of 4 a.m., Chedeng was 880 km east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, packing maximum sustained winds of 95 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph.

It was moving west-northwest at 13 kph and is expected to be 620 km east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar. By Wednesday morning, it is expected to be 390 km east northeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar or 510 km east southeast of Virac, Catanduanes.

But it is still possible for Chedeng to change direction and affect other parts of the country, as it is still far from any land mass for now.

"Puwede, malayo pa, lalo na pag mabagal siya (It is possible it can change direction. It is far from any land mass, and it is moving slowly)," Paciente said.

Also, he said residents in parts of the country can expect rains while Chedeng is in the country, as it will enhance the southwest monsoon.

"Inaashan natin malakas na ulan dahil pagiibayuhin niya ang habagat kaya magkaroon (We can expect heavy rains because it will enhance the southwest monsoon)," he said.

More rains starting Thursday

Meanwhile, PAGASA forecaster Robert Sawi told radio dwIZ that the monsoon enhanced by Chedeng will be felt starting Thursday or Friday.

PAGASA said that by Thursday morning, Chedeng is expected to be 240 km east northeast of Virac, Cantanduanes.

However, no public storm warning signals have been raised so far.

"This weather disturbance is expected not to directly affect any part of the country within the next 24 hours," PAGASA said.

On the other hand, PAGASA said that for Monday, the whole countrty will experience mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms.

Govt prepared

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council declared itself ready to deal with the effects of Chedeng.

NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said he spent the weekend reviewing contingency plans in the Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas.

"Sa Region 8 nag-review ng contingency plans. Umabot sa Bicol si Governor Salceda at Raffy Alejandro naghahanda na sila mula pang two days ago (In Eastern Visayas we reviewed contingency plans. In Bicol, Albay Governor Jose Salceda and Office of Civil Defense director Bernardo Rafael Alejandro IV have prepared their plans since two days ago)," Ramos said in an interview on dwIZ radio.

Ramos also said that while they do not expect Chedeng to hit Mindanao as well, he ordered contingency plans there as rains from climate change may affect the area.

"Lahat na LGU at line agencies nagpulong (All line agencies and local government units have met to address the possible effects of 'Chedeng')," he said.

He said the Departments of Health and Social Welfare and Development have prepared evacuation centers, with the DSWD prepositioning food and non-food items.

The Department of Public Works and Highways is also ready with heavy equipment to clear areas affected by landslides and floods.

Ramos said the NDRRMC has also involved the police and military to help evacuate residents.

"Ininvolve natin (sila) para sa manpower at lahat na equipment, 6x6 dump truck, para ilikas ang tao kung magsabay-sabay ang mga ito (We involved the police and military to use their equipment like trucks to evacuate residents if necessary)," he said.

Also, he assured there are enough calamity funds for the relief operations.

Just recently, Tropical Storm Bebeng left at least 35 dead and P1.370 billion in damage to property when it pummeled parts of Central and Southern Luzon, Metro Manila, the Bicol Region, and Central and Eastern Visayas.

Appeal to fishermen

Meanwhile, Ramos appealed to fishermen in northeast Luzon Monday to get home early so they will not fall victim to Chedeng.

"Ang aming panawagan sa mangingisda sa Pacific Ocean, umuwi muna tayo para ligtas sa sakuna (Our call to fishermen in the Pacific Ocean is to get home early to avoid being victims of big waves and bad weather conditions)," he said.

The Philippine Coast Guard, for its part, was placed on heightened alert, asking residents in the eastern seaboard to be vigilant, radio dzBB's Carlo Mateo reported.

Coast Guard units in Bicol and Southern Luzon have been placed on alert, with instructions to keep rubber boats and diver and medical teams on standby. — RSJ, GMA News
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