Over 200,000 Albay villagers to be evacuated as typhoon Nina threatens Bicol

-Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara on Saturday said mandatory evacuation would be carried out on Sunday in all villages in the province which are prone to flooding, landslide, mud or lahar flow and storm surges.

The state weather bureau said typhoon Nina, which has been located 480 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes as of 10 a.m. Saturday, continues to threaten the Bicol region. It has maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour with gusty winds of up to 185 kph while moving west northwest at 15 kph.

Bichara, who is also head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC), said disaster authorities are preparing to move out 207,774 families or nearly a quarter of a million people living in areas prone to flood, landslide, lahar flow and storm surges in Albay's three cities and 15 towns.

PDRRMC data indicate that there are 1,616 villages threatened by flooding, landslide, lahar flow and storm surge should typhoon Nina hit the province on Sunday.

There are also around 59,790 families in low-lying villages at risk of flooding, 21,294 families at risk in landslide areas, 34,631 families at risk in lahar-prone areas while 29,087 families are at risk to storm surges in coastal areas.

Bichara said some local municipal DRRMCs have began moving out villagers to safer grounds as a preventive measure should typhoon Nina hit Albay.

The typhoon, which is expected to make a landfall in Catanduanes province on Sunday afternoon or evening, is also expected to bring moderate to heavy rains and strong winds to Albay.

Bichara has also directed the Department of Education to open school campuses that are not at risk to floods, landslides and storm surges, to be ready for evacuation use.

Albay province was placed under a "state of imminent disaster" on Friday to facilitate use of calamity fund by local disaster councils in its 3 cities and 15 towns.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical Astronomical and Services Administration has placed the Bicol provinces of Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Masbate, including Ticao and Burias Island under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal Number 1.

Source: Philippines News Agency