Laoag mobilizes disaster management teams
by Cristina Arzadon
Laoag City (22 October) -- Except for occasional gusty winds and rain showers, fair weather has persisted all over Ilocos Norte for days. The only telltale sign of an approaching storm could be seen in the presence of rescue and disaster management groups which started teeming city hall this morning.
Members of the city disaster coordinating council also took their usual posts at the city hall's main entrance to accommodate typhoon-related reports. Rubber boats and other life-saving devices have likewise been displayed at the city compound.
Outside the city hall, heavy equipment, payloaders and cargo trucks are stationed on nearby streets waiting for the signal to be dispatched.
City Administrator Gloria Peralta said notices have been sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs to re-schedule its mobile passport processing activity at the city hall to another date. The DFA's mobile passport service was due to arrive on Saturday.
Genoveva Juan, a food attendant at the city cafeteria, said typhoon Ramil has yet to arrive but already, a food shortage has begun because a mixed crowd of rescue groups and city hall employees trooped to the food station early.
"We have run out of lunch because of the unusually high number of customers," Juan politely told city employees who were still queuing up for lunch.
Other employees were also queuing up at the city's mini-grocery and bought additional household supplies that could last until the typhoon fizzles out.
Nova De Rosas, a city hall employee, said she was stocking up on food and other home items good for three days as part of her 72-hour disaster preparedness kit.
Meanwhile, residents in flood-prone areas have been warned to move to higher grounds before typhoon Ramil starts dumping heavy rains.
Paoay Mayor Bonifacio Clemente said they have started releasing water from the Paoay Lake whose water level remains above critical.
"We are looking for ways to further lower the lake's water level because this might swell again and submerge homes nearby," Clemente said.
He said several homes around the lake remain flooded caused by the previous typhoon. (PIA) [top]