AS part of precautionary measures, the government on Saturday ordered the evacuation of thousands of residents in the southern part of the main Luzon island as category 5 storm that is the world’s strongest this year approaches.
An update issued by the weather bureau showed that typhoon Rolly with international name Goni has 215 kph (133 miles) sustained winds and gusts of up to 265 kph (164 mph).
The typhoon is expected to make landfall on Sunday as the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines since Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) that killed more than 6,300 people in November 2013.
According to Gremil Naz, a local disaster official, pre-emptive evacuations have started in coastal and landslide-prone communities in the provinces of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur.
The Albay provincial government ordered residents in risky areas to leave their homes as the strength of this typhoon is no joke.
Typhoon Quinta (international name: Molave) last week killed 22 people, mostly through drowning in provinces south of Manila, which is also in the projected path of Goni, the 18th tropical storm in the country.
Local officials also canceled port operations and barred fishers from setting sail.
Typhoon Rolly, moving westward at 20 kph (12 mph) from the Pacific Ocean, will bring intense rains over the capital and 14 provinces nearby on Saturday evening, and threats of floods and landslides.
Another typhoon, Atsani, is gaining strength just outside the Philippines. Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Director Ricardo Jalad said “heavy to very heavy” damage is expected as some parts of the country are still reeling from the effects of Typhoon Quinta, which ravaged parts of Southern Luzon this week.
“Malawak na pinsala ang nakikita natin dito kahit hindi siya maging supertyphoon. Kung typhoon level lang ay aabot tayo sa typhoon signal number 4 at magkakaroon na lakas ng hangin na 171- 220 kph at asahan natin ang heavy-very heavy damage sa kaniyang daraanan kaya puspusan ang paghahanda ng LGUs,” Jalad said.
Rolly, the 18th storm to cross the country this year, is packing maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 265 kph as of 11 a.m., according to state weather bureau PAGASA.
NDRRMC earlier advised residents living in areas along the path of the typhoon to stay indoors or heed evacuation orders.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) suspended all sea travel in areas that will be affected by typhoon ‘Rolly.’
PCG spokeperson Commodore Armand Balilo said they are avoiding a repeated of what happened during typhoon ‘Quinta’ where many sea vessels encountered problems, specially in Bauan, Batangas which is why an early notice to mariners has been issued so that they can look for a safe are to dock and secure their sea vessels.
Balilo said the PCG had suspended travel of sea vessels to Bicol and Northern Samar beginning Friday night.
This was followed by suspension of sea trips from 5 a.m. yesterday, in the Southern Tagalog area including Mindoro, Batangas, Port of Lucena and even Port of Manila, as typhoon ‘Rolly’, said to be this year’s strongest tropical cyclone, reportedly barrels closer to Bicol.
A total of 102 were thus stranded in various ports, mostly in Batangas, where 58 were made to disembark two ships in view of the suspension of sea travel.