MANILA - Thousands of residents in typhoon-hit provinces in Luzon fled their homes and sought shelter Wednesday ahead of the onslaught of severe tropical storm Ulysses (Vamco), the fifth storm to hit the area since October.
Quezon Governor Danilo Suarez said cloudy skies and intermittent rains are already being experienced in Quezon, where Ulysses is forecast to make landfall between Wednesday night and early Thursday.
The province has sent food packs to its island towns ahead of the storm's approach, Suarez said.
"Kung ito naman ay bumaba at pumunta dito upper part ng lalawigan naka-ready na rin kami," he said.
(We're ready if it hits the upper part of the province.)
"Pang-limang bagyo ko na ito since October, sunud-sunod. Zero casualty naman kami. That’s my priority talaga, 'yung kaligtasan ng buhay ng aking kalalawigan."
(This is my fifth storm since October. We have zero casualties. The life of my constituents is my priority.)
The Philippines has been battered by several typhoons and severe tropical storms in the past month, including Typhoon Quinta (Molave), Super Typhoon Rolly (Goni), severe tropical storm Siony (Atsani) and tropical storm Tonyo (Etau).
Catanduanes forcibly evacuated its residents ahead of severe tropical storm Ulysses' onslaught, its governor said Wednesday.
The island province earlier this month suffered the brunt of Super Typhoon Rolly, which unroofed houses, knocked down power lines, and inundated large swaths of Catanduanes, leaving at least 5 dead and billions in agricultural and infrastructure damage.
During Rolly's wrath, some 46,000 evacuees fled to the homes of their neighbors that weren't damaged by the previous storms, said Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua.
"Naging kultura na namin every typhoon, naghahanda pa sila ng pagkain," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(It has been our culture every typhoon, they even prepare food.)
"Nanawagan tayo sa mga bahay na maayos at lahat ng government facilities na pwedeng gamitin. Sana po lumihis pero ramdam na ramdam namin ngayon ang hangin at ulan ngayong umaga."
(We are calling on all homes without damage and all government facilities that can be used to house evacuees. We hope the storm will turn away, we can already feel its wind and rains this morning.)
The province received assistance from other local governments such as Pasig, Davao City, Manila, Northern Samar, Cebu City, and Sorsogon, Cua said.
Some 1,500 families in Guinobatan town, Albay also fled their homes ahead of Ulysses' approach, said mayor Ann Ongjoco.
Stream-laden flows or lahar is expected as rivers have become silted due to previous storms, she said.
"Inaasahan natin kasi silted na ang river channel dito sa Guinobatan. Mas madami po ang mageevacuate, threatened din po ang center kasi silted na ang river channel kaya pwede na po mag-overflow," she said.
(We expect lahar because the river channel has become silted. More will evacuate as our town's center is also threatened by the river possibly overflowing.)
Tiwi town in Albay also enforced a preemptive evacuation early Wednesday, mayor Jaime Villanueva said.
Meantime, some 490 passengers, 187 trucks and 37 light vehicles were stranded in Matnog port, said Philippine Ports Authority division manager Achilles Galindes.
"Kami'y nananawagan sa ating mga kababayan na imonitor po ninyo ang bagyo, wag na po muna tayo bumiyahe kasi maaantala lang po tayo dito sa daan," he said.
(We call on the public to monitor the storm, do not travel anymore as they will just be stranded.)