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PIA Press Release
2008/02/21

Albay orders reactivation of all town disaster councils

by MS Arguelles

Legazpi City (21 February) -- Bracing for possible floods, landslides and mudflow spawned by rains brought by the tail end of the cold front, the Albay Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) ordered reactivation of various disaster coordinating councils across the province.

Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda, PDCC chairman, on Tuesday directed the Albay Provincial Public Safety Management Office (APSEMO) to reactivate the local disaster coordinating councils in 15 towns and three cities of Albay after heavy rainfall precipitation reached 272.8 millimeters or exceeded at four to six mm caused by the tail end of the cold front.

"The local disaster coordinating councils is hereby advised to convene, observe and monitor the rain gauges installed in their respective municipalities and perform countermeasures in their respective areas of responsibility for disaster avoidance," Salceda said in his advisory.

Cedric Daep, APSEMO chief, said that the tail end of the cold front is considered major weather disturbance that may cause flood, landslide, flash flood and mudflow in the low lying areas.

Daep said that as of February 18, the accumulated rainfall precipitation reached at 272.8 mm based on the report of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

He said this manifestation means that the soil is completely saturated, and might trigger possible landslides and flash floods brought by the bad weather condition that continue to affect the province for several days so "we should be ready for any eventualities".

Daep said based on the ocular inspection, some areas in Albay have been already affected by flooding and river swelling due to continuous rains since last week.

He said floods, landslides and mudflow threaten villagers living along river channels, low lying areas and mountain slopes. "This are in the towns of Libon, Polangui, Manito, Bacacay, Tiwi and this city."

Last week, the MV Don Wilfredo, a cargo vessel owned by Candano Shipping Lines based in this city, capsized on Friday off the waters within the San Bernardino Strait in Sorsogon due to very rough seas. At least 18 of the 19 crew men were rescued while Nathaniel Latorena, the ship captain is still missing.

Earlier, health authorities in Albay raised an alarm and banned the gathering, marketing and consumption of dried Goby and Puffer fish following the death of a six-year-old girl and 15 others hospitalized due to poisoning after eating said dried fish.

Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda has directed the Albay Provincial Health Office (PHO) and the 18 town and city mayors to enforce a provincial health advisory permanently banning the gathering, selling and eating of dried Goby and Puffer fish.

The directive also include the confiscation of dried fishes of certain species of "Bunog" or "Parog", "Tikong" local names of Goby fish, and "Butete" or Puffer fish being sold in public markets in the towns of Albay.

Dr. Luis Mendoza, PHO chief, said his office received reports from four town health units of 16 cases of food poisoning for eating dried Goby and Puffer fish that cause the death of a six-year-old girl in Tabaco City.

Goby and Puffer fish are not edible and unfit for human consumption as it contains a toxin called "Tetrodotoxin" or puffer fish toxin. (PIA Albay) [top]

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