By: Benilda A. Recebido
SORSOGON CITY, November 10 (PIA) - Sorsoganons felt a total relief after learning from PAGASA, the country’s official weather bureau, that super typhoon “Yolanda” won’t hit the province anymore.
“We are thankful to God that we were spared from the typhoon but we feel so sorry about what happened in our brothers and sisters in Visayas who were directly hit by the typhoon,” said a Sorsoganon who refused to be named but had an experience losing children and properties when typhoon “Sisang”, one of the strongest typhoons, hit Sorsogon in 1987.
People of Sorsogon believed that the power of prayer spared the province from the wrath of typhoon “Yolanda”. Prayer brigade in cellular phones and in social media circulated enjoining everyone to call upon for the Divine intervention. “Prayer is the best weapon against all odds. If God is with you, who can be against you?” said Mayor Sally A. Lee of Sorsogon City who made in public her appeal for God’s intervention to save the province and the city from the super typhoon.
Typhoon “Yolanda”, internationally named “Haiyan”, entered earlier than expected the Philippine Area of Responsibility, on November 6, 2013 (11:30PM) with maximum sustained winds of 215 kph and gustiness of up to 250 kph, and for the first time, Sorsogon province experienced two typhoon warning signals – the Southern part with rarely used Signal No. 4 and the rest part with Signal No. 3.
“I have been through with several typhoons in my life, but this is the first time I have experienced two different typhoon signals in one province, I was really scared, so I just pray hard,” said 89-yr old Adelaida Banares-Asajar who was also inquisitive about the six consecutive landfalls made by typhoon “Yolanda” as it passes through its track.
Governor Raul R. Lee, chairman, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC), holding on to the information that “Yolanda” is the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, issued advisories early as November 1, addressed to all City and Municipal DRRM Officers enclosing information about the typhoon and to closely monitor its track. Concerned LGUs and agencies were asked to consider contingency plans and implement their respective preparedness and mitigation measures to reduce the impact lest the typhoon hit the province.
Part of the pre-emptive measure, an assessment of all evacuation structures especially school buildings, commonly used as evacuation centers, were also conducted to ensure that evacuated residents will be safe.
Classes in all levels and some works were also suspended on Nov. 7 and 8, while southbound trips were also temporarily suspended to avoid congestion of stranded passengers and vehicles in Matnog port, the gateway to Visayas and Mindanao.
Even the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) through Bicol regional director Blandino Maceda have also reminded the governors and mayors in the region to strictly monitor their respective localities and secure their constituents in safe evacuation centers prior to the expected landfall of Yolanda.
Typhoon “Yolanda” was felt in Sorsogon morning of Friday, Nov. 8, under signal number 3 and number 4. Gustiness of 185 kph to 215 kph was experienced with moderate rainfall.
Power supply fluctuated since midnight of Nov. 7 and was cut off early morning of Nov. 8, but was also restored late afternoon of the same date after the Daraga-Sorsogon 69 KV line was re-energized by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
As of yesterday, PDRRMC’s initial assessment bared that the zero casualty goal was achieved attributing it to the systematic pre-emptive evacuation of residents in most vulnerable areas. (BARecebido, PIA-5/Sorsogon)