Stone houses in Batanes made 'storm-proof' for Ompong

The stone houses of Batanes that were built to withstand strong winds and heavy rainfall are refurbished in preparation for Typhoon Ompong.

Raffy Tima reported on State of the Nation with Jessica Soho on Wednesday that residents boarded up already-fortified houses with wood and secured the roofs with nets and ropes.

This was done to ensure that the structures -- which symbolize the Ivatan's strength and resilience against disasters -- outlast the high-pressure winds Ompong is expected to unleash.

Tapangkos or covering were also installed on the doors and windows of several buildings in Batanes, including the capitol building.

Puring Garcia, a retired police chief, was eager to board his house up so as not to relive the nightmare of Typhoon Ferdie that hit Batanes in 2016.

'Yung malaki po diyan kaya pumasok lahat ng tubig, bumaha dito, naghakot-hakot dito. Kaya nadala na'ko, kaya gumagawa nako ng tapangko," Garcia said.

Ferdie destroyed thousands of structures and literally tore the roof off of houses along its path, it was the time for bayanihan of the residents as they helped each other tie down roofs in Barangay Itbud.

"'Yung mga tao dito, kapag makikita kang nagtatali ng mga bahay, pag mag-isa ka na lang, tutulungan ka nila," barangay captain Lucia Anay said.

Low on NFA rice

Typhoon Ompong, which entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Wednesday afternoon, was last seen 1,145 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes at 4 p.m.

The government of Batanes gave assurance it has pre-positioned food and non-food relief supplies like hygiene kits for residents to be affected.

However, they raised the concern that their remaining stock of around 1,000 sacks of NFA rice could only last them up to nine days.

The national government has reportedly pledged to replenish their stocks after Ompong hits. — Margaret Claire Layug/BAP, GMA News