DAET, Camarines Norte - Pre-emptive evacuation began Tuesday in coastal and low lying areas of Camarines Norte ahead of the arrival of tropical storm Ulysses, which is forecast to pass close to the province Wednesday afternoon.
This was implemented in Daet, Vinzons, Mercedes, Talisay, San Vicente, Sta. Elena, and Capalonga.
By Wednesday morning, local governments will implement forced evacuation, according to Camarines Norte Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council incident commander Atty. Don Culvera.
“Kung talagang kailangan namin silang buhatin, bubuhatin po namin sila para talaga pong masiguro ‘yung kaligtasan nila,” he told ABS-CBN News.
Culvera expects around 13,000 to 15,000 families to stay in evacuation centers in the province.
He said Camarines Norte has enough facilities like classrooms to accommodate evacuees even with the social distancing protocols. But providing food and supplies for them beyond two days may be a challenge for the local government, as disaster funds were exhausted by the COVID-19 response.
“Last March pa kami nagstart sa COVID, medyo ubos na po ‘yun. Talagang humihingi na po kami ng tulong at ayuda sa national government, lalu na when it comes to the relief goods of our evacuees,” Culvera said.
“Ang ginagawa na po namin, kinukuha na namin halos lahat ng budget ng mga opisina, ‘yung mga savings nila, ‘yung hindi na nila pwede gamitin, like travels, ‘yung sa seminars… and iba pong MOOE, talagang nare-realign na siya,” he added.
Culvera meanwhile assured evacuees that barangay and police personnel will be on the watch to prevent looting in the homes they left behind. He also noted that no such incident was reported in the previous evacuation efforts due to typhoons.
"The barangay officials are there and the PNP para makasiuro lang po na ‘yung ating mga kababayan, lalu na ‘yung personal belongings nila sa bahay ay protektado. Ang kaganahan nga po, wala kaming incident noong nakaraang bagyo,” he said.
Last November 9th, Camarines Norte Governor and PDRRMC chairperson Edgardo Tallado raised the red alert status on Camarines Norte.
According to state weather bureau PAGASA’s 11 p.m. advisory, Camarines Norte is under tropical cyclone warning signal no. 2.
Moderate to heavy with at times intense rains are expected over the province until Wednesday. PAGASA also warns of the risk of 3-meter high storm surges on the coastal areas of Camarines Norte.