WORLD'S STRONGEST STORM HITS EASTERN VISAYAS / OVER 4M PEOPLE AFFECTED - DSWD

ALSO: PILGRIM IMAGE OF FATIMA STRANDED BY 'YOLANDA' IN SAMAR


Philippine Coast Guard personnel inflate newly acquired rubber boats for deployment to the Bicol region which is expected to be directly hit by supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

MANILA NOVEMBER 11, 2013 (MANILA TIMES) by WILLIAM DEPASUPIL, RITCHIE HORARIO AND ROBERTZON F. RAMIREZ REPORTERS - THOUSANDS of families fled their homes on Thursday as Super Typhoon Yolanda, the world’s strongest storm this year, started battering Eastern Visayas ahead of its expected landfall this morning in Guiuan, Eastern Samar or Abuyog, Leyte.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) placed the provinces of Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran under storm signal number 4. These areas face “very heavy” damage, including the toppling of major power and communications lines and the destruction of crops and infrastructure.

Powerful winds whipped more than a dozen provinces starting last night, sending thousands of people to evacuation centers.

“This is a very dangerous typhoon, local officials know where the vulnerable areas are and have given instructions on evacuations,” state weather forecaster Glaiza Escullar said.

“There are not too many mountains on its path to deflect the force of impact, making it more dangerous.”

The US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said that Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) had maximum sustained winds on Thursday morning of 278 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of 333 kph.

On Thursday afternoon, the storm was tracked 543 kilometers southeast of Guiuan with winds of 215 kph and gusts of up to 350 kph.

Signal number 3 was raised over Nothern Samar, Masbate, Northern Cebu including Cebu City, Bantayan Island, Siargao Island and Dinagat Province.

Signal number 2 was up in Camiguin, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Bohol, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, the rest of Cebu, Iloilo, Guimaras, Romblon, Sorsogon, Albay and Burias Island.

The provinces of Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Siquijor, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Northern Palawan including Calamian Island group and Southern Quezon were under signal number 1.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said local governments had evacuated families in danger areas and suspended classes. Flights to the typhoon-lashed provinces were cancelled.

Survivors of a deadly earthquake also fled their tent shelters on Thursday as mass evacuations got under way.

Escullar said the typhoon, which was advancing with a giant, 600-kilometer front and was expected to hit areas still recovering from a deadly 2011 storm and a 7.1-magnitude quake last month.

They include Bohol, the epicenter of the earthquake that killed more than 200 people, where a local official said at least 5,000 people were still living in tents while waiting for new homes.

“The provincial governor has ordered local disaster officials to ensure that preemptive evacuations are done, both for those living in tents as well as those in flood-prone areas,” Bohol provincial administrator Alfonso Damalerio said.

However, Escullar said Haiyan was likely to spare Mindanao’s southeast, where Typhoon Bopha left about 2,000 people dead or missing in December last year.

Some of the country’s most popular islands for tourists, including world-famous Boracay as well as Bohol, are in the typhoon’s path.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) placed Southern Metro Manila under full alert ahead of the super typhoon.

The typhoon will be closest to Metro Manila Friday afternoon. Considered as critical areas are the Manila Bay, including the cities of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Pasay and Parañaque.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said all of the agency’s rescue units are ready for deployment.

The MMDA placed all its personnel and rescue equipment, including rubber boats and vehicles, on standby.

Tolentino said the rest of the metropolis will be on blue alert status.

He said Yolanda will bring a big amount of rainfall and strong winds to the metropolis. He recommended the suspension of elementary and high-school classes today.

Tolentino also advised Metro residents to go home early today.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is on full alert, while the Armed Forces of the Philippines in National Capital Region readied trucks and personnel for rescue and relief efforts.

Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. of Makati ordered the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) to activate the Makati’s Incident Command System (ICS).

The Philippine Ports Authority suspended all port operations in all areas that will be affected by the typhoon.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd called on the people to prepare for onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda.

The President said Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas flew to Leyte to oversee preparations for the typhoon.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has prepositioned relief goods, and the Philippine Coast Guard has banned vessels from going out to sea, he said.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on all bishops and priests to recite the “oratio imperata.”

CBCP President Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said that prayers are the best weapon against the typhoon.

“Alam po natin na napakalakas ng Typhoon Yolanda and we pray that it would not really hit us or bring havoc to the country, we have had enough calamities at sana nga po through our prayers, with God’s help hindi po masyadong malalala yung epekto nitong Typhoon Yolanda. We exhort our priest to lead our prayer [oratio imperata] against impending calamities,” Palma said. WITH REPORTS FROM AFP AND VOLT PALANA

Over 4M people affected by ‘Yolanda’ — DSWD By Cynthia D. Balana Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:57 pm | Saturday, November 9th, 2013


Volunteers repack relief goods at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Manila on November 9, 2013, for victims of the Super Typhoon Haiyan (Philippine name: Yolanda) that smashed into coastal communities on the central Philippine. AFP

MANILA, Philippines – More than 905,253 families or 4,082,104 individuals in 36 provinces were affected by Typhoon “Yolanda” (international codename: Haiyan), prompting President Aquino to order the creation of command posts outside Metro Manila to oversee relief operations.

At a National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council briefing in Quezon City Saturday morning, representatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development said 142,078 families or 487,195 individuals were staying in 2,467 evacuation centers in seven regions.

Eastern Visayas reported the biggest number of evacuees at 47,638 families or 165,828 individuals, followed by Bicol with 39,803 families or 151,349 individuals, and Western Visayas with 20,449 families or 80,342 individuals.

The DSWD said it had pre-positioned 37,550 food packs and augmented this with another P6 million worth of food packs that were now ready for distribution. The department also has a standby fund of P106 million for the needs of the typhoon victims.

The DSWD appealed for volunteers to assist in repacking relief goods.

The DSWD said its Disaster Response and Monitoring Department was working 24/7 with the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Public Works and Highways and non-governmental organizations.
Tacloban, capital of the province of Leyte, was among the worst hit areas, with storm surges flooding large parts of the city, cutting off power and communication lines.

On the instruction from President Benigno Aquino III, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said the Tacloban Command Center was now in operation while another in Roxas City was being put up to oversee relief and rehabilitation in Western Visayas.

Also, the government will be using two logistics centers: one in Tacloban and another in Iloilo City.

Almendras said that additional relief goods were on their way to Tacloban, accompanied by Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman and Executive Director Eduardo Del Rosario of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, who were traveling on the same flight.

“We are very concerned about the situation there. That is precisely why Secretary Soliman is on the plane to Tacloban now,” he said.

Almendras said the government was accelerating the repacking of relief goods and would closely work with the DSWD and volunteers for immediate distribution.

Commercial shipping lines and airlines have offered to transport goods and personnel for speedier relief work.

The NDRRMC’s official death toll still stood at four despite reports in the media of massive loss of lives. The agency said it still had to receive official reports from government agencies involved in rescue and retrieval operations.

The Philippine Nation al Police reported that a total of 142,078 families had been evacuated in Capiz and that 90 percent of buildings and houses there had been damaged.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it was coordinating with the DSWD in establishing humanitarian command posts and was moving more personnel and resources to the areas affected.

The military was also coordinating with the local electric providers in areas that were still without power.

The Department of Public Works and Highways said it had completed clearing roads of uprooted trees and debris.

FROM MANILA BULLETIN

PILGRIM IMAGE OF LADY OF FATIMA STRANDED BY 'YOLANDA' IN SAMAR (MANILA BULLETIN) by Leslie Ann Aquino November 9, 2013 (updated)


The pilgrim image of the Fatima was stranded in Samar after it arrived there when the super typhoon Yolanda struck, according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

MANILA- Mama Mary, Manila Bulletin The pilgrim image of the Fatima was stranded in Samar after it arrived there when the super typhoon Yolanda struck, according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Supertyphoon “Yolanda” trapped the international pilgrim statue of the Our Lady of Fatima in Eastern Samar.

An article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website revealed that the image arrived in the town of Dolores, roughly 46 kilometers north of the province’s capital city of Borongan, Thursday afternoon and stayed there for an overnight vigil.

The icon was supposed to be brought to Borongan Friday for another overnight vigil but it is not sure if the plan pushed through as communication and power is down in the area.

The image arrived in Manila, coming directly from Fatima, Portugal, last Sept. 16 to visit 41 archdioceses and dioceses all over the country until December 18.

Based on the original schedule, the statue of the Our Lady of Fatima was set to be brought to the Archdiocese of Palo, which was also lashed by the typhoon, on Saturday.

FROM MANILA STANDARD

Monster storm drubs PH By Rio N. Araja | Posted 17 hours ago | 2,379 views  MANILA STANDARD

Yolanda exits, leaving swath of destruction


‘Yolanda’s’ fury. Top photos show residents (right) standing along a sea wall as high waves pound them as Typhoon “Yolanda” hit Legaspi on Friday, while a resident runs past an uprooted tree in Cebu City. AFP

SUPER Typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the planet which weather experts described as the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, swept through the archipelago at a frightening speed, leaving a swath of destruction in its wake.

Although it was expected to leave the Philippines at 10 a.m. Saturday, its strong winds killed at least three people, injured three more, tore roofs of off buildings, swept away shanties and triggered giant waves in coastal towns.

It also made five landfalls since it entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Thursday.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 250 kph, Yolanda made its fifth landfall at 12 noon on Friday, barely two hours after it hit land in Bantayan Island in Cebu at 10:40 a.m.

Yolanda made its first landfall at dawn, 4:40 a.m, in Eastern Samar, then moved to Tolosa, Leyte at 7 a.m., and hit land again in Daanbantayan town in Cebu at 9:40 a.m.

Dr. Jeff Masters of the wunderground.com weather website posted that Yolanda was the strongest storm to make landfall and the fourth strongest in the world.

“Haiyan (Yolanda) had winds of 190 -195 mph at landfall, making it the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in world history,” he said.

Citing data from the United States-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Masters, who co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995, said Yolanda’s average strength of 195 mph (314 kph) at landfall beat the record set in 1969 by hurricane “Camille,” which carried 190 mph (306 kph) winds when it made landfall in Mississippi.

“If it maintains its strength, there has never been a storm this strong making landfall everywhere in the world,” Masters added.

Masters said the strongest tropical cyclone on record was Super Typhoon Nancy in 1961 with top winds of 215 mph, but since 1969, only three storms have been as powerful as Haiyan (Yolanda). They were Super Typhoon Tip in 1979 in the Pacific and Atlantic hurricanes Camille in 1969 and Allen in 1980.

Storm signal no. 4 has been raised over the extreme of Northern Palawan, Calamian Group of Island, Southern Occidental Mindoro, Southern Oriental Mindoro, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo and Guimaras.


A mother and her children brave heavy rain as they head for an evacuation center also in Cebu City, while the inset at left shows President Aquino meeting with Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. AFP and Malacañang Press Office


The rest of Mindoro provinces, Romblon, rest of northern Palawan and Puerto Princesa City were placed under storm signal no. 3, while Signal no. 2 remained hoisted over Lubang Islands, Batangas, Marinduque, the rest of Palawan, Burias Island, Masbate, Ticao Island, Negros provinces, Cebu, Biliran Island and Siargao.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila, Bataan, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Quezon, Camarines provinces, Albay, Sorsogon, Samar provinces, Leyte provinces, Bohol, Siquijor, Camiguin, Surigao del Norte and Dinagat province had warning signal nol. 1.

The typhoon also carries with it 10 to 30 millimeters amount of rainfall per hour, or heavy to intense, over a 400-km diameter.

As of 1 p.m. Friday, the eye of Yolanda was tracked at 115 kms west of Roxas City or over the western coast of Antique. The typhoon was forecast to move west northwest at 40 kph.

As this developed, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council confirmed that three people had been killed, three were injured, and 15 crewmen were rescued at the height of Yolanda’s fury.

The NDRMMC identified the fatalities as Enex Deinla, who was electrocuted in Surigao del Sur; Reggie Francisco Bucoy, of Masbate and Jimmy Cabilon of Zamboanga City.

NDRRMC Executive Director Eduardo Del Rosario said in a media briefing that the entire eastern Samar is without power and communication lines were down.

“Eastern Samar was badly hit, but we still don’t know the actual damage, Del Rosario said. ‘We’re hoping that the damage is not that worse.”

At least 145, 641 families or 718,208 persons from 29 provinces, 31 cities and 170 municipalities were directly affected by the typhoon.

Del Rosario that aside from Eastern Samar, also without power are the provinces of Sorsogon, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Masbate, Albay, Antique, Siargao, Leyte, Iloilo, Bantayan and Tablas in Cebu, Camotes Island and Dinagat.


Storm watch. Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin are shown in a press conference after their arrival in Tacloban City to monitor the government’s preparation for Typhoon “Yolanda.”

In the Caraga Region, 6,522 families or about 18,234 individuals were evacuated in different towns within five provinces of the region as of 9:45 a.m., according to the Caraga Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.

Butuan City alone has evacuated 435 individuals or about 543 families as part of the city government’s pre-emptive evacuation since the evening of Nov. 7

In Dinagat Islands, at least 1,187 families were evacuated to safer place and to different evacuation centers in the island province.

In Surigao del Norte, 3,345 families have been evacuated through pre-emptive evacuation measures in all twenty towns of the province, while in Agusan del Norte, some 357 families were pre-emptively evacuated in the ten towns of the province and the City of Cabadbaran.

Meanwhile, at least 67 cell sites of the Smart, Sun and Globe communications were also damaged, as towers were toppled and the antennas were misaligned. The telecommunications service providers, however, promised to restore their signals today.

In Cebu, Governor Hilario Davide III said that several residents were reported missing, while hundreds of infrastructure and houses were damaged by strong winds.

Also, some 3,093 passengers in different ports in Southern Tagalog, Bicol and Visayas were stranded after 231 passenger and cargo ships were prevented from sailing because of rough seas and huge waves.

In Bicol, 1,591 passengers were affected while 783 were stranded in Catbalugan in Eastern Visayas, according to Cdr. Armando Balilo, Coast Guard chief information officer.

“We also prevented ships here in Metro Manila. We’re also hoping that no fishermen will be affected,” he said.

Balilo said that aside from passengers, also stranded were 423 rolling cargoes and 63 motor boats.

Coast Guard commandant Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena directed all station and detachment commanders in areas affected by the typhoon to prepare its rescue units and initiate pro-active measures to prevent or minimize loss of lives attributed to maritime and land based incidents that may be caused by the weather disturbance.

He said rescue units like disaster response and quick reaction teams composed of divers, paramedics, rescue swimmers and K-9 units should be on high level of readiness so it can immediately respond to emergencies.

Isorena also called on the agency’s auxiliary volunteers to actively involve their units and equipment during rescue operations as part of the regular Coast Guard personnel.

He added that the recently acquired 40 new rubber boats and 20 aluminum boats will be used and operated by the Coast Guard Special Operations Group for coastal patrol and in the conduct of search and rescue missions.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare Department said that some 718,208 individuals or 145,641ilies affected by super typhoon “Yolanda” are now being sheltered in 581 evacuation centers in 29 provinces in seven regions of the country, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported Friday.

DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman said the affected persons were from Regions 4A, 4B, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

She added that P30 million additional stand-by fund was released to these provinces as an augmentation of the relief distribution.

The typhoon has also plunged the entire Visayas grid into darkness, hours after the typhoon made landfall.

System operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said that the High Voltage Direct Current transmission facility that allows that flow of electricity from Luzon to Visayas was blocked.

“There is no power flow from Luzon to Visayas,” National Grid spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza said.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, who hails from Leyte, described the power situation as “really bad.”

“We have to assess the situation first and then start the restoration. Communications are down right now so actions are on hold,” Petilla said.

As of 3pm, National Grid reported that all 69 kV lines in Samar and Leyte were affected by the storm while eight 138 kV transmission lines and two 230 kV transmission lines were affected.

All transmission lines in Bohol were also affected. With Joel E. Zurbano, Francisco Tuyay, AFP, PNA, Alena Mae Flores and Alvin Guazon


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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