NDDRMC: We were more prepared for 'Pablo'

By Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Dec 05 2012 03:39 PM | Updated as of Dec 05 2012 11:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The national government and local officials were more prepared for typhoon “Pablo” compared to tropical storm “Sendong”, which claimed more than a thousand lives in December last year, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Wednesday.

“There’s an improvement as of last [tropical storm] Sendong that was in December 16 last year. There is no point in comparison in so far as fatalities because it has its own system of devastation. If you say that Sendong is stronger than Pablo, you may have a point,” NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos told reporters on Wednesday.

Ramos lauded the improvement in the preparation efforts, noting that the public is more cooperative this time around.

“There was an improvement in the preparation of local government, national government and our own people. When we said evacuate, they did,” said Ramos.

“It should have been triple the number of casualties if they did not heed our call,” he added.

Ramos also lauded weather bureau PAGASA for their accurate forecast.

“PAGASA did a splendid job. Eight days before it made landfall, PAGASA already informed us,” he said.

The NDRRMC’s official death toll due to typhoon “Pablo” is at 95. “Sendong”, which also hit Mindanao last year, left 1,268 people dead.

NDRRMC also said 61 people were injured due to strong winds and heavy rains brought by Pablo.

Most of the casualties were from Compostela Valley, where 66 people were confirmed killed in a flashflood.

Ramos, meanwhile, clarified that only one soldier, identified as staff Sgt. Maximo Olivares, drowned in the flood.

Evacuation centers

Ramos said that as of 1 p.m., there are 36,142 families or 169,907 individuals staying in evacuation centers in Visayas and Mindanao.

A state of calamity has already been declared in Surigao del Sur, where 63,635 people have been affected.

Ramos called on the public to donate food and clothing to the affected residents.

“In the spirit of kabayanihan, I appeal for their generosity so that we can assist our own people,” he said.

Pablo further weakened after making landfall in northern Palawan early Wednesday.  

Northern Palawan and the Calamian group of islands remain under signal number 3.

Pablo is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Thursday evening.