2 hurt, more than 500 preemptively evacuated due to Florita

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2022 12:42 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2022 05:11 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) — More than 500 people in Northern Luzon were evacuated while two were reportedly injured as severe tropical storm Florita barreled the country, government disaster agencies said Tuesday.

In its latest monitoring, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said those preemptively evacuated were from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Cagayan Valley.

In Cagayan province, two people were reported hurt: 1 in the capital Tuguegarao City, and another in Enrile town.

According to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), both victims were injured after getting pinned down by a fallen tree.

NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said they are also monitoring areas in the region affected by the magnitude-7 quake that struck last month. 

"Ating tinututukan ang mga areas na landslide-prone, flood-prone, dito sa mga area na tatahakin ng bagyo sa North Luzon. A lot of areas na binabagyo ngayon ay niyanig ng earthquake, at mataas ang tsansa ng pagguho ng lupa sa mga areas na 'yan," Timbal said in a televised briefing. 

(We are monitoring areas that are landslide-prone and flood-prone where the storm would pass through. A lot of areas here were also hit by the strong earthquake, which was why there are high chances of landslides.)

"Awa ng Diyos, wala tayong na-receive na balita this time na may kababayan tayong nadisgrasya," he added. 

(With God's mercy, we have not received any information as of this time about any casualty.) 

The NDRRMC has "more than P800 million standby funds" that they could use for the storm's victims, he added. Around 480,000 food packs are available, while face masks are also ready to be distributed to evacuees.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, which is on red alert, also has P1.7 billion in standby funds, aside from prepositioned goods for those that will be affected by the storm.

All of its offices have been alerted to deploy teams and foodpacks in affected areas once the weather allows them.

The DSWD said it has streamlined operations to serve the public better, after the quake last month.

Backup field offices in neighboring regions are also on standby to assist, according to Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez.

He said that historically, storms passing through Northern Luzon were destructive.

Law enforcement clusters have also been deployed in evacuation centers to help assist affected individuals, added Timbal.

WORK SUSPENDED, IMPASSABLE ROADS 

A total of 162 classes are suspended in several regions in Luzon due to the onslaught of the country's 6th storm, most of which were in the areas of CAR, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Bicol Region. 

Work in around 60 cities and municipalities, mostly in Region 1, is also suspended.

Three roads in the Bicol Region and one bridge in Cagayan Valley are not passable, the NDRRMC said.

Watch more News on iWantTFC

The disaster agency reported three landslide incidents in La Union and Albay. 

There are also two flooding incidents recorded in Calasiao, Pangasinan. The NDRRMC said floods in 16 areas in Albay have already subsided, as of 8 a.m.

State weather bureau PAGASA and the NDRRMC earlier warned people living in areas that might be affected by Florita to take all necessary precautions. 

The NDRRMC said it has already coordinated with its regional offices, government agencies and local government units on the possible impact of the storm.

Florita, which continues to intensify, hit land in Maconacon, Isabela at 10:30 a.m., PAGASA said. 

As of 10 a.m., the storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour near the center and up to 150 kph gusts, according to the weather bureau. 

Florita will continue moving northwestward and is forecast to cross the northern portion of Isabela and mainland Cagayan. It will emerge over the Babuyan Channel on Tuesday night and may exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Wednesday morning. 

- with report from Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News