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DSWD chief orders full preps of food packs in regions affected by TD Aghon

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Friday (May 24) directed all DSWD field offices that are in the projected path of Tropical Depression (TD) Aghon to check on their inventories of family food packs (FFPs) as part of the agency’s preparation.

The DSWD chief specifically alerted the Field Offices in Eastern Visayas, Bicol and Caraga, the regions which are likely to be affected by TD Aghon according to the latest bulletin of PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration).

“The storm coming in may affect your areas. I checked our inventory levels daily and we’re all very high stockpile according to my reports. So we’re all ready with the pre-positioned family food packs,” Secretary Gatchalian told the three concerned DSWD regional directors.

Asst Secretary for Disaster Response and Management Group (DRMG) Irene Dumlao said the DSWD has prepositioned more than Php 189 million worth of food packs in areas under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 1.

“The DSWD Field Office 8 (Eastern Visayas) has a stockpile of 11,363 boxes of FFPs while the CARAGA Regional Office has 32,000 FFPs prepositioned in Surigao del Norte and the Dinagat Islands,” said Asst. Secretary Dumlao, who is also the agency spokesperson.

More than 199,000 boxes of FFPs are currently stockpiled in the National Resource and Logistics Management Bureau’s (NLRMB) National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City while 60,237 FFPs are stored in the Visayas Disaster Resource Center (VDRC) in Cebu City, according to the DSWD spokesperson.

Based on the 2 am PAGASA bulletin received by the Disaster Response and Management Bureau (DRMB), the area of low pressure situated east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur intensified and transformed into Tropical Depression #AghonPH.

TD Aghon is expected to move in a mainly northwestward or north-northwestward direction from Friday (May 24) through Saturday (May 25), gradually gaining strength.

“According to the forecasted track, Aghon is projected to approach or make landfall near Eastern Samar as a tropical depression Saturday morning,” the DRMB said.

“Subsequently, it will travel north-northwestward across Eastern Visayas, then emerge over the waters off the eastern coast of the Bicol Region Saturday afternoon or evening as a tropical storm,” the DRMB added.

By Sunday (May 26), the DRMB said Aghon will begin to curve northeastward or north-northeastward over the waters to the east of Luzon, while steadily intensifying.

“The current forecast suggests that it will escalate to a severe tropical storm by mid-Sunday(May 27) and advance to typhoon status by Tuesday (May 28),” the DRMB said.

PAGASA has placed Eastern Samar, Dinagat Islands, Siargao Islands, and Bucas Grande Islands under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal no. 1 which may experience minimal to minor impacts from strong winds.

The expected track might change due to the broad circulation of the disturbance, leading to high uncertainty for the first 48 hours, according to PAGASA.

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