Home International Thousands evacuated in Philippines as new storm approaches

Thousands evacuated in Philippines as new storm approaches


Manila : Thousands of people Wednesday began leaving their homes in the eastern Philippines, ahead of a new storm that is expected to hit the area later in the week, a senior official said.

Anthony Golez, spokesperson of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the evacuation of residents in coastal areas and mountain slopes in the eastern region of Bicol.

Golez said some 40,000 families would be covered by the evacuation order in the provinces of Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate.

Last year, more than 1,000 people were killed and thousands more displaced when continuous heavy rains triggered mudslides on the slope of Mayon Volcano in Albay province, 330 km southeast of Manila.

“The president wants to ensure zero casualties,” Golez said.

Arroyo is in Singapore attending the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), but she was expected to return to Manila later in the day.

Earlier this week, 11 people were killed in landslides and flash floods following days of heavy rain that accompanied tropical storm Lando.

The weather bureau said the new storm, Mitag, packing wind speed of up to 85 km per hour and gusts 100 km per hour, was located 870 km east of the Bicol region.

“This disturbance is still too far to directly affect the country,” it said. “However, it is expected to induce north-east monsoon that will bring moderate to heavy rains over the eastern section of the country which may trigger flash floods and landslides.”

The agency said it expected the storm to hit Bicol provinces Friday morning or early Saturday.