200 families near Baler Bay to be evacuated due to Chedeng

MANILA, Philippines – A day before Typhoon Chedeng (Maysak) hits land, about 200 families living in the high-risk areas along Baler Bay will be evacuated by 1 pm Saturday, April 4, according to the municipality's disaster risk reduction management office (MDRRMO).

Most of these families are informal settlers who live 3 meters away from the bay, MDRRMO head Gabriel Llave told Rappler in a phone interview. 

"Actually, as of today, sa resorts wala na kaming problema. Yung mga turista, nakontrol at nag-uuwian na (Actually, as of today, we no longer have problems with the resorts. Tourists are already under control, and are already going home)," Llave added.  

Local government units earlier accounted for about 10,000 tourists in Baler Bay alone. Outdoor activities had been prohibited along the beaches of Aurora since Friday evening, April 3. 

"Medyo malinis na ang karagatan. Wala nang nagse-surfing, swimming, fishing, and boating (The waters are already clear of people, with no more surfers, swimmers, and those fishing and boating)," Llave said. 

Chedeng was last located 480 kilometers east southeast of Casiguran, Aurora or at 250 km northeast of Virac Radar, Bato, Catanduanes as of 9 am Saturday

It has maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometers/hour (km/h) near the center, and gusts of up to 160 km/h. Landfall is expected over the coast of the Aurora-Isabela area by Sunday morning, April 5.

Llave said if weather conditions worsen, authorities may also have to evacuate around 1,000 households. For now, they will only implement force evacuations in high-risk areas. 

"Sa mga kababayan natin, kung alam nila na malapit sila, mag-preemptive evacuation na hanggang 12 noon (To our fellow Filipinos, if you know you're near a high-risk area, please conduct pre-emptive evacuation until 12 noon.)" he warned.

Baler has become a popular tourist destination, especially among surfers. On Friday, April 3, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged tourists in the area to reconsider their vacation plans and pack up ahead of Chedeng's landfall. – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.