PIA Press Release
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Albay braces for La Nina
LEGAZPI CITY, Jan 12 (PIA/LGU Albay) -- It will be a wet year, so said PAGASA of year 2012. The Albay provincial government has retooled its action plan following PAGASA's forecast of intensified rains and flooding by the first quarter of this year due to the expected return of the La Nina phenomenon promptly putting into effect the Reactivated Albay Task Force La Nina 2012 (RATFLAN 2012).
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said preparations have actually been started in December last year, with a refresher training on weather-related hazards and responses conducted by the Albay Provincial Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) for the 30-man core team from the province’s 720 barangays.
Aerial inspections of Albay’s lahar zone in its 2nd district, flood plains of the third district and landslide prone areas of the province were also conducted in late December 2011 by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), APSEMO, and the Philippine Air Force Task Operations Group 5, the governor disclosed.
Salceda said RATFLAN 2012 has immediately been put in effect with an initial P22 million budget for concrete actions and operations, with APSEMO acting as secretariat with its head presiding over the regular meetings of members starting January.
The return of the destructive La Nina weather phenomenon was forecast by PAGASA. The massive floods brought about by relatively weak tropical storm Sendong in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in Northern Mindanao that resulted to more than 2,400 deaths, attest to its lethal threat.
Disaster officials in Albay agreed that their existing risk maps need to be redrawn since previously declared safe areas were recently hit by massive flash floods, landslides, and lahar flows particularly at the foot of Mayon Volcano.
Salceda said preparations are hinged on the recent rainfall situation indicating that La Niña would persist while weather systems causing heavy rainfall exist, as was reported by PAGASA.
Tropical storms Bebeng (May 8-9), Chedeng (May 25), Falcon (June 22), and Juaning (July 22) caused severe flooding, landslides, and mudflows which indicated so much run-off water and precipitation.
He said the onset of the northeast monsoon in the last quarter of 2011, has brought about so much rain that prompted the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to issue Public Safety Advisories.
Aside from updating risk maps, Salceda said steps are also being initiated to strengthen community-based real time warning systems using rain gauge stations and flood marker, install CCTV in 5 critical (highly typological) locations, conduct a sustained Communication Protocol via the disaster Infoboard, and improve the Evacuation Plan and Procedures of the province. (MAL/LGU ALbay)