Pampanga ready for Typhoon ‘Ompong’

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The Pampanga Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) is prepared to deal with Typhoon Ompong (international name Mangkhut) should it make landfall on Friday, Acting Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda said.

“Handang-handa po tayo sa ano mang kalamidad na mangyayari para tiyakin na ligtas ang mga tao (We are very much prepared for any calamity that may happen to ensure that the people are safe),” said Pineda, co-chair of the PDRRMC.

He gave the assurance after holding a pre-disaster risk assessment (PDRA), a process that evaluates a hazard’s level of risk given the degree of exposure and vulnerability in a specific area, PDRRM Office action officer Angelina Blanco said.

The PDRA also makes an accounting of available resources such as personnel, food and medical supplies, and equipment.

Pineda said the PDRRMO has three professional rescue teams complete with protective gears, 23 government response vehicles, seven boats and 25 vehicles volunteered by the private sector and three permanent evacuation centers.

“On standby now are 18,400 packs of food items, 4,995 cavans of rice and 5,000 hygiene kits” the acting governor said.

Blanco said the PDRRMO has advised local governments in 19 towns and two cities to activate their operation centers, preposition all available equipment and vehicles and monitor coastal and upland areas and conduct preemptive evacuation if necessary.

Hilton Hernando, head of PAGASA’s Pampanga River Basin Flood Forecasting and Warning Center , said the track of Typhoon Ompong is headed toward Batanes province, Cagayan and Ilocos regions. Pampanga, he said would most likely experience localized thunderstorms before Sept. 14 and would get more rains during Typhoon Ompong.

Engr. Barren Parungao of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau said upland communities in Arayat, Floridablanca, Porac and Mabalacat City should watch out for landslides.
Pineda said it was expected that Typhoon Ompong could worsen floodings. Rains triggered by habagat (southwest monsoon) and seven tropical cyclones left 193 villages under a foot up to three feet of floods from Aug. 10 to 31. The floods affect 83,142 families or 350,618 persons and force 521 families or 2,080 person to stay in evacuation centers. Floods have damaged P166 million worth of palay in the province.

The towns of Masantol, Macabebe, San Luis, Sasmuan, Minalin, Sto. Tomas and Guagua continue to be under state of calamity, as declared by their respective local governments.

Council members such as the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army’s 48th Infantry Battalion, Department of Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Fire Protection, National Food Authority and Philippine Information Agency reported being on heightened alert in the runup to Typhoon Ompong’s landfall.