Bichara orders mandatory evacuation in Albay due to Typhoon Tisoy

ALBAY, Philippines – Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara ordered the mandatory evacuation of 90,000 families or close to 500,000 people across the province, as Typhoon Tisoy (Kammuri) threatens to hit the Bicol region.

Included in the order are areas prone to lahar, landslides, floods, and storm surges, like the coastal towns of Tiwi, Malinao, Malilipot, Bacacay, Santo Domingo, Manito, and the two cities of Tabaco and Legazpi.

At least 25,770 families or 106,211 persons evacuated are from 121 barangays threatened by lahar flows, according to the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo). They are from the towns of Santo Domingo, Bacacay, Malilipot, Malinao, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, and Libon, and the cities of Ligao, Legazpi, and Tabaco.

"We will be enforcing mandatory evacuation starting today until tomorrow morning. All mayors should enforce evacuation now. Put your cars in elevated or higher grounds because we will be experiencing heavy flooding with torrential rain," Bichara said in a press conference on Sunday afternoon, December 1.

The governor warned that Tisoy will be dumping heavy rain before and even after landfall.

"The wind is not as strong as [Typhoon] Reming [in 2006], but the rainfall is torrential," Bichara added.

Bichara directed Engineer Dante Baclao, head of the provincial engineering department, to deploy equipment to Albay's 3 districts to clear the roads immediately, specifically in landslide-prone areas. (READ: Bicol prepares for Typhoon Kammuri)

Apsemo chief Cedric Daep said heavy rain might trigger destructive lahar flow.

"Evacuation should be done tonight and not later than 12 noon tomorrow," Daep said.

Provincial social welfare officer Eva Grageda said their office has allotted 2,000 bags of National Food Authority rice, canned goods, and powdered chocolate drinks and coffee for evacuees.

"All local government units are repacking relief goods, but our office is ready for augmentation. As soon as the typhoon is over, we are calling all municipal and city social welfare offices in the province to submit and report to us immediately their needs so we can send necessary food packs for affected families in respective LGUs," Grageda said.

Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal also ordered the forced evacuation of people threatened by lahar, floods, landslides and storm surges. Rosal issued this directive to all barangay officials during the city disaster risk reduction emergency meeting on Sunday evening.

Earlier, Ed Laguerta, former regional chief of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in Bicol, warned disaster officials against a repeat of Reming's remobilization of lahar flow in Albay following unregulated quarry operations.

Laguerta said 90 million cubic meters of lahar deposits – from recent Mayon volcano explosions – may be triggered and remobilized by intense rainfall.

The Office of Civil Defense in Bicol said at least 9,771 families or 38,759 persons are evacuees from Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, and Masbate. – Rappler.com