‘Better be safe than sorry’: PDRRMO raises red alert for Ursula, seeks early evacuation for high risk areas

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo December 23,2019 - 08:24 PM

Satellite image of Tropical Storm Ursula as of 6 p.m. on Monday, December 23. (Pagasa)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Staying safe is still the best way to celebrate Christmas.

This was the message of Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Neil Angelo Sanchez to the public amid the threat posed by Tropical Storm Ursula during Christmas eve and Christmas day.

Read more: Sea travels in Cebu, other parts of Visayas suspended due to Typhoon Ursula

In an interview this afternoon, December 23, Sanchez encouraged passengers to have more patience and heed the suspension of trips to avoid untoward incidents when the typhoon passes through the Visayas.

At noon on Monday, the Philippine Coast Guard in Central Visayas (PCG-7) has already suspended all vessels’ trips going to and from the ports of northern and central Cebu due to the Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No.1 that has been raised in the areas.

Read more: Signal No. 1 up over northern, central Cebu as TS Ursula intensifies

Sanchez also appealed to the small fisherfolks in the coastal communities of the province not to set sail to the seas until the storm warning would be lifted.

“At this point, delikado kaayo. Mas nindot man gyud ang Pasko nga intact ang pamilya regardless og na-stranded ta or what.  Ang important is we are kept safe,” Sanchez said.

(It is very risky at this point. Christmas is always better if the family is intact regardless if you are stranded or whatnot. The important thing is that we are kept safe.)

Read more: Typhoon Ursula may intensify to severe tropical storm before landfall in E. Samar – Pagasa

As of the 5 p.m. advisory of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Tropical Storm Ursula is at about 615 kilometers east northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. It is traveling west-northwest at 30 kilometers per hour while maintaining the strength of 75 kph and gustiness of 90 kph.

Pagasa earlier said TS Ursula may develop into a severe tropical storm before it makes landfall in the vicinity of eastern Samar on Tuesday afternoon or evening

Signal No. 2 is already raised in Guiuan, Eastern Samar as of 5 p.m. Monday, December 23.

Read more: Cebu LGUs gear up for Ursula

Sanchez said the PDRRMO and all local DRRM offices in the province, including in Southern Cebu that had not yet under a storm signal, were already 0n red alert status in preparation for Ursula.

“Nagstorya na mi sa atong staff. (My staff and I have already discussed this.). We will be spending Christmas here. Apart from the skeletal force that I already established, the PNP will be sending two personnel as augmentation and the Task Group Cebu of the Centcom  (AFP) will also be sending two personnel,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez also encouraged the local DRRM officers to conduct preemptive evacuation, especially for their high-risk areas to minimize the danger posed by Ursula.

He said they would be also targeting zero casualty this Christmas amid effect of the typhoon.

“Let us not wait for the typhoon to intensify. If it is deemed necessary that you have to evacuate them to safer grounds, (you) might as well do it (at) the soonest possible time,” Sanchez said./dbs

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TAGS: Christmas, Pagasa, PDRRMO, Philippine Coast Guard in Central Visayas, Sanchez, Ursula

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