Governor raises ‘Blue Alert’ over Negros Occidental disaster offices
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. raised the alert status for all disaster offices in the province ahead of Tropical Depression Samuel’s expected visit. Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) head Zeaphard Caelian confirmed an emergency meeting was held yesterday, where it was decided to elevate offices to a “Blue Alert” status.
A “Blue Alert” signals the second stage of a warning, wherein emergency preparations begin.
During the meeting, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office was also instructed to ready relief goods.
Meanwhile, district hospitals in the province were placed on a “White Alert.” where medical staff prepare for an influx of medical emergencies.
According to data sent by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration to PDRRMO, the storm is expected to make landfall multiple times while passing over the northern part of Surigao and the Visayas. With San Carlos City likely being the sixth time the system will pass over land, PDRRMO expects, once Samuel makes landfall in Negros, the storm will be weakened significantly by the northern Negros mountain range.
The office, however, said heavy rains are still expected.
As of 11:00 a.m. yesterday, Samuel was last spotted 605 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, with maximum winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts up to 65 kph.
The storm also changed course and is now moving northwest at 15 kph.
As of press time, five areas in the Visayas, along with seven in Mindanao, are under a Storm Signal No. 1./DGB, WDJ