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Albay braces for floods and landslides on the onset of TD ‘Mina’

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 23 (PIA) -- The Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council (PDRRMC) remains on heightened alert since Sunday this week in the wake of tropical depression Mina expected to bring widespread rains that may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, also chair of the PDRRMC, on Monday had already issued advisory putting the province under alert status and directing all three cities and 15 towns on 24-hour watch and be ready to carry out flood and landslide evacuation plans.

Salceda also directed disaster preparedness and response units of Polangui, Oas, Libon and Malinao to set up sand bag dikes in low lying areas frequently affected by flood during heavy rainfall.

The same advisory also warned and directed residents of villages not to cross rivers and other water ways, as well as communities down the slopes of Mayon volcano to keep watch on possible mud or lahar flows.

Meanwhile, Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) V regional director Raffy Alejandro, chair of Bicol Regional DRRMC, has assured that disaster preparedness and response units are immediately activated in all six provinces of the region.

Alejandro said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are already directed to preposition trucks, rubber boats and other equipment for use in times of evacuation, rescue and relief operations.

The Philippine Atmospheric and Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) has reported Tuesday that tropical depression “Mina” has slowed down as it changed course and was now moving northwestward.

In its latest weather forecast, Pagasa said that as of 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, Mina was seen 350 kilometer East Northeast of Virac, Catanduanes and has maintained its strength with maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center. Mina was moving seven kilometers per hour North Northeastward.

No storm signal warning was hoisted.

However, Pagasa said that Mina is expected to enhance the Southwest Monsoon and will bring scattered to widespread rains over Southern Luzon and Visayas. Estimated rainfall amount is from 10-20 mm per hour within the 300 km diameter of the tropical depression. (MAL, PIA V/Albay)