2,000 families evacuate in Quezon province due to Ambo

John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 15 2020 05:44 PM | Updated as of May 15 2020 05:48 PM

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MANILA - Around 2,000 families in Quezon province fled their homes due to severe tropical storm Ambo, a disaster response official said Friday. 

Melchor Avenilla Jr., head of the Quezon provincial disaster risk reduction and management office, said in an interview with ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo that they told families to start leaving their houses on Thursday morning so evacuation centers won't be swamped.

"Tayo po ay natulungan sa mas maaga na paghahanda," he said.

(We were helped by early preparations.)

Avenilla confirmed the total number of evacuees in Quezon has reached around 10,000 and is expected to grow during Ambo's onslaught in the province.

The storm struck the country while millions were hunkered down in their homes as movement restrictions remained in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. But thousands have had to evacuate, with local officials enforcing spacing protocols.

Avenilla said affected families in the province were able to receive relief goods immediately.

Electricity and communications were cut off in some areas of Quezon, the official said. "Intermittent" power interruptions are also being experienced in other cities and towns of the province, including Lucena City and Tayabas City.

"Umaasa tayo na right after [Ambo] na agaran ito maibalik," Avenilla said.

(We're hoping that right after Ambo, these will be restored.)

Ambo on Thursday noon made landfall in San Policarpo, Eastern Samar, blitzing through the province with heavy rains and strong winds. 

On Friday, it made another landfall -- its sixth since San Policarpo -- in Agdangan, Quezon at 1 p.m., packing maximum sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour near the center and 150 kph gusts, according to PAGASA.

The first storm to hit the country this year earlier toppled trees, knocked out power lines and destroyed houses in affected provinces, forcing residents to flee their homes.