Bicol braces for tropical storm 'Nina'

LEGAZPI CITY -- Disaster councils across Bicol have been placed on “blue alert” or heightened alert as it prepares for disaster pre-emptive measures should tropical storm Nina (international name: Nock Ten) hit the Bicol peninsula on Saturday, Christmas eve, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol said Friday.

Bernardo Rafael Alejandro, OCD-Bicol director and concurrent Bicol Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) chairperson, said since Wednesday, he has been advising all Provincial DRRMCs to be on high alert for the worsening weather situation and the possible effects the weather disturbance may bring to the community.

Alejandro said should tropical storm Nina hit the Bicol region, it could bring flooding, landslide and storm surge in disaster-prone villages in the region’s six provinces.

On Thursday’s RDRRMC meeting, disaster councils in Bicol were placed on “preparedness mode,” which means all national and local DRRMCs should be ready for activation and deployment, he said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that 20,256 food packs and thousands of non-food items such as malong, laminated sacks, plastic mats, mosquito nets and blankets were made available for prepositioning and distribution to local government units.

Aside from the food packs and non-food items, DSWD has made available hundreds of NFA rice sacks, canned goods, including a P3.1-million standby fund.

All government hospitals were placed under code white alert (preparedness mode) while the Department of Health Operation Center is on 24/7 operations.

Alejandro said the “no sailing policy” for sea vessels would be enforced should the state weather bureau raise public storm warning signals in Bicol. (PNA)