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Archive for November 25th, 2007

‘Lando’ to reenter RP as ‘Mina’ exits

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net

Last updated 08:47am (Mla time) 11/26/2007MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 2) Typhoon “Mina” (international codename: Mitag) swept through extreme northern Luzon on Monday, displacing hundreds, triggering power outages, and downing communication lines, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said.

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As Mina moves out of the country, Tropical Storm “Lando” (international codename: Hagibis) will reenter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Monday afternoon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

Lando will make landfall in northwestern Palawan late Tuesday evening, and would hit Mindoro Island, the Bondoc Peninsula, the southern portion of Quezon province and Camarines Norte, Science and Technology Undersecretary Graciano Yumul said.

The storm will be over the Philippine Sea by Thursday, where it will merge with tropical depression “Nonoy.” While the combined storms would head for Japan, it would still bring rains to the eastern seaboard, Yumul said.

Mina made landfall in Palanan town, Isabela province at 9 p.m. Sunday, and passed over the provinces of Cagayan and Kalinga, Yumul said, adding the storm would exit the country from Ilocos Norte province on its way to Japan.

The typhoon has weakened as it crossed the northeastern provinces. As of PAGASA’s 4 a.m. bulletin, Mina packed maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour near the center, with gusts of up to 170 kilometers per hour.

NDCC spokesman Anthony Golez said there were no immediate reports of casualties after the typhoon made landfall. Before the storm hit land, the NDCC reported six deaths due to drowning and electrocution in Camarines Norte province in the Bicol Region, where the storm was first forecast to hit.

In Isabela province, 96 families were evacuated in Dinapigue town, while 45 others were evacuated in San Mariano town, Golez said.

In Southern Luzon, the storm displaced 334 families in Aurora province and 71 others in Quezon province, he said.

In the Bicol Region, roughly 7,000 families remain in evacuation centers in Camarines Sur, 5,000 in Catanduanes, and 4,000 in Camarines Norte.

Golez said power outages were reported in Isabela and in Ilocos Norte where the San Nicolas line reportedly tripped.

The service of mobile phone provider Smart was also reportedly interrupted in Palanan, Isabela, and in Diapigue, Aurora, he said.

Yumul said Lando would likely gain strength over the South China Sea before it enters the PAR. On Sunday, Lando was packing maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour on its way to Vietnam.

Golez said there is a possibility that Lando’s strength will be stronger than when it first entered the country.

Mina pulled Lando back to the country in a weather phenomenon known as the “Fujiwara effect” wherein a stronger storm influences the movement of a weaker storm.

Lando left 14 people dead when it crossed northern Mindanao, the Visayas and Palawan last week.

Northern Luzon will experience stormy weather due to “Mina,” while moderate to heavy rains were forecast in Central Luzon. Metro Manila will be cloudy with rain showers, Yumul said.

Lando will bring rains to Metro Manila by Wednesday as it passes through the Southern Luzon provinces.

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Written by joelguinto

Sun+00:002007-11-25T16:21:58+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Sun, 25 Nov 2007 16:21:58 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm11

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‘Mina’ still on course for Northern, Central Luzon

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Typhoon maintains strength

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 06:22pm (Mla time) 11/25/2007

MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon “Mina” (international codename: Mitag) maintained its strength as it continued on its course towards Northern and Central Luzon on Sunday afternoon, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

At 4 p.m., the eye of “Mina” was located 180 kilometers north northwest of Virac town, Catanduanes province or 180 kilometers east southeast of Casiguran town, Aurora province, PAGASA said in its 5 p.m. bulletin.

The storm packs maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometers per hour near the center with gusts of up to 195 kilometers per hour. PAGASA said it will make landfall in Isabela province early Monday.

The storm was forecast to bet at 50 kilometers west of Tuguegarao City by Monday afternoon, 80 kilometers northwest of Laoag City by Tuesday afternoon, and 240 kilometers north northwest of Laoag or 230 kilometers west of Basco town, Batanes province by Wednesday afternoon, PAGASA said.

Earlier, PAGASA said tropical storm “Lando” (international codename: Hagibis) would reenter the country’s area of responsibility on Monday and make landfall in Palawan the following day.

“Mina” drew Lando back to the country in a weather phenomenon known as the “Fujiwara Effect,” wherein a storm of greater strength influences the movement of a storm of lesser strength, PAGASA Director Prisco Nilo said.

The country is also under threat from a brewing storm over the Pacific Ocean, to be named “Nonoy,” which could meet “Lando” over the Philippine Sea by Thursday before heading for Japan, Nilo said.

Public storm signal number 3 (100-180 kilometers per hour winds) was raised in, Isabela, Cagayan, Apayao, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Aurora, and Polillo Island.

Public storm signal number 2 (60-100 kilometers per hour winds) was raised in Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Northern Quezon, Nueva Ecija, Benguet, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Abra, and the Babuyan group of islands.

Public storm signal number 1 (30-60 kilometers per hour winds) was raised in Albay Camarines Sur, the rest of Quezon, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Pangasinan, and the Batanes group of islands.

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Written by joelguinto

Sun+00:002007-11-25T14:27:25+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Sun, 25 Nov 2007 14:27:25 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm11

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Military expands suspension of operations vs NPA rebels

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 06:45pm (Mla time) 11/25/2007

MANILA, Philippines–The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has expanded the suspension of military offensives (SOMO) against communist guerillas to the Visayas region, to give way to response efforts to typhoon “Mina” (international codename: Mitag) and “Lando” (international codename: Hagibis).

AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Antonio Romero announced the SOMO in a news conference at the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

On Saturday, AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. announced a SOMO vis a vis the New People’s Army (NPA) in the entire island of Luzon and the island of Palawan.

“All our resources are available to local disaster coordinating councils,” Romero said.

The Visayas is under the operational control of the AFP Central Command, based in Cebu City.

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Written by joelguinto

Sun+00:002007-11-25T14:25:48+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Sun, 25 Nov 2007 14:25:48 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm11

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‘Mina’ dragging ‘Lando’ back to RP–PAGASA

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 04:49pm (Mla time) 11/25/2007

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Tropical storm “Lando” (international codename: Hagibis) made a u-turn and will slam back into the central provinces after it was pulled by typhoon “Mina” (international codename: Mitag), which is on track to hit the northeastern provinces.

This weather phenomenon is known as the “Fujiwara effect” wherein a storm with stronger winds influences the direction of a nearby storm with weaker winds, said Prisco Nilo, Director of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

“Mina” packs maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometers per hour near the center while “Lando,” which was headed for Vietnam before it turned back, had maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour near the center, Nilo said.

The last time the “Fujiwara effect” was experienced in the country was 10 years ago, Nilo told a news conference at the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC).

“There was an interaction between the two storms, Mina and Lando. In science, it’s called the Fujiwara effect,” Nilo said.

“Mina is the stronger typhoon. The other [Lando] follows the dominant system and made a u-turn,” he added.

“Lando” could retrace its path, enter central Palawan and exit through the southeast of the Visayas, or could enter northern Palawan and head towards the Bicol Region and exit through Sorsogon, Nilo said.

“Lando” will enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Monday, and make landfall on Tuesday, he said.

By Thursday, Nilo said “Lando” will be over the Philippine Sea, where it could meet and merge with a tropical depression that was brewing over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.

“Lando and the tropical depression (to be named “Nonoy” once it enters the PAR) were forecast to move towards Japan, but would still trigger rains on the eastern seaboard, Nilo said.

Nilo said the newly brewing storm could pack maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center.

Originally posted 2:22pm

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Written by joelguinto

Sun+00:002007-11-25T08:30:31+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Sun, 25 Nov 2007 08:30:31 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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7 dead as typhoon ‘Mina’ nears–relief agencies

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Agence France-Presse, INQUIRER.net
Last updated 02:39pm (Mla time) 11/25/2007

MANILA, Philippines–Seven people have been killed and tens of thousands have evacuated their homes as typhoon Mina (international code name: Mitag) approaches the eastern Philippines, disaster relief agencies said Sunday.

Six people drowned while one was electrocuted by a fallen power line in the provinces of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte, southeast of Manila, where the initial effects of the typhoon are being felt, the regional disaster office reported.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Manila said it was verifying the reports it had received from regional offices.

“These are reports we received from the PDCCs [Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council], and we are still verifying them,” Bernardo Alejandro of the OCD in Manila said in a phone interview.

One of the six drowned was a seven-year-old child, whose identity was not immediately available, in Paracale town, Camarines Sur province, he said.

In Camarines Sur province, one person died due to drowning in each of the following towns: Buhi, Caramoan, Sagnay, Pamplona, and in Naga City, Alejandro said.

One death due to electrocution was reported in Baao town, also in Camarines Sur, he added.

The Manila OCD said at least 298,000 people had evacuated their homes in six provinces to avoid flash floods, landslides or volcanic mudslides that could be triggered by the storm.

The military has also declared a unilateral suspension of operations against communist insurgents in the areas likely to be affected by the storm to allow soldiers to focus all their efforts on helping in relief and evacuation efforts, military spokesmen said.

However, this would not prevent the military from carrying out law-enforcement operations or from protecting their camps or the public from attacks “that may take place during the suspension of military operations,” said spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro.

President Gloria Arroyo had ordered a “pre-emptive evacuation” in vulnerable areas to avoid a repeat of the disaster last year when typhoon Durian struck the Bicol peninsula, killing about 1,200 people and leaving 200,000 homeless.

Mina, which was initially heading towards Bicol, southeast of Manila, swerved northwards towards the provinces of Aurora and Isabela, northeast of the capital.

As of 11:00 am (0300 GMT) Sunday, Mina was still 280 kilometres (173 miles) southeast of Aurora, moving northwest at 15 kilometres per hour, the government weather station said.

It is forecast to hit northern provinces late Sunday.

The storm had weakened, packing maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometres per hour with gusts of 195 kilometers per hour as of Sunday, compared with sustained winds of 175 kilometers and gusts of 210 kilometers per hour recorded earlier.

In the Bicol region, where thousands of people had earlier fled ahead of the storm, some were already leaving evacuation centres and returning home because the typhoon had changed course, said civil defence director Anthony Golez.

Golez said that Arroyo had called the governors of the provinces likely to be hit by the typhoon and they had reported to her that “everything is under control. They have all stockpiled (supplies) and prepared and evacuated communities that are in danger for flash floods and landslides.”

He said Arroyo had ordered the national civil defence office to be ready in case any province asked for aid.

The highest level of a three-step storm alert remains in force over the northeastern provinces of Aurora, Isabela, Cagayan and Quirino, which will likely feel the full force of typhoon Mina first.

Lower-level storm alerts have been raised over neighboring provinces.

With a report from Joel Guinto, INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

Sun+00:002007-11-25T08:29:34+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Sun, 25 Nov 2007 08:29:34 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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Gov’t undertakes massive evacuations

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 06:50pm (Mla time) 11/25/2007

MANILA, Philippines–(UPDATE 2) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered new evacuations in the central Philippines as three weather disturbances threatened the country, officials said.

With evacuees in northern Luzon and the Bicol region, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said the effort was one of the biggest in Philippine history.

“With the President’s instructions to do a preemptive evacuation, we have seen one of the largest massive evacuations in Philippine history,” Teodoro said in a press briefing at the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) in Camp Aguinaldo.

Appealing to the people at risk from floods and landslides to evacuate, Teodoro said: “It’s better to be safe that sorry. Let’s take the necessary precautions. Let’s follow the advice of the national government and LGUs [local government units].”

Tropical storm “Lando” (international codename: Hagibis) was forecast to reenter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Monday. By Tuesday, it is expected to make landfall in Palawan, from where it exited early last week.

Typhoon “Mina,” which is moving towards the northeastern provinces of Aurora and Isabela, “influenced” the movement of “Lando,” causing it to make a u-turn and spare Vietnam, said Prisco Nilo, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

A brewing storm on the Pacific Ocean is expected to enter the PAR by Thursday and hover over the Philippine Sea, where it could meet and “merge with “Lando,” Nilo said.

Once the weather disturbance enters the PAR it will take on the Philippine code name “Nonoy.”

The merged storms will likely head to Japan and are not expected to hit land, but could still trigger rains in the eastern seaboard, Nilo said.

“The President has ordered preparedness measures in areas that will be hit by the storm [Lando], particularly in the Central Visayas,” Office of Civil Defense chief and National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) Executive Director Glen Rabonza said.

“Are we prepared for the return of Lando? We are,” Rabonza added.

Rabonza could not immediately give an estimate on the scale of the evacuees in the Visayas, which will be on top of the thousands of expected evacuees in the northern provinces in “Mina’s” path.

“We will evacuate those at risk from storm surges and flash floods. These typhoons are moving slow. They will be dumping a lot of rains,” Rabonza said.

In the Bicol region, where “Mina” was earlier forecast to hit, thousands have been sent home, officials said.

Only 124,037 of the estimated 250,000 evacuees in the Bicol Region remain in government shelters as of 8 a.m. Sunday, of which, 74,356 were in Camarines Sur, 28,326 were in Camarines Norte, while 28,355 are in Catanduanes, said Bernardo Alejandro, the regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)

On Sunday, the last remaining evacuees in Albay province, estimated at 13,000 families or 65,000 people, were ordered to return to their homes near the slopes of the Mayon Volcano, Alejandro said. The evacuation around Mayon was ordered to prevent a repeat of the devastation in late 2006, when super typhoon “Reming” (international codename: Durian) triggered mudflows from the volcano, killing hundreds.

“There’s no more threat [of mudflows]. The governor was just waiting for PAGASA to lower the storm signal before asking the evacuees to return to their homes,” Alejandro said in a phone interview.

The PAGASA had lowered the storm signal in Albay to 1, the lowest level. The decamping of an estimated 20,000 evacuees in Sorsogon, where the storm signal was also lowered to 1, will start anytime Sunday, Bernardo said.

He said regional disaster officials will wait until storm signals in the Camarines provinces and Catanduanes to be lowered before a decamping is ordered. Camarines and Catanduanes are under signal number 3, while Camarines Sur is under Signal number 2.

No figures were immediately available on the number of evacuees in Aurora, Isabela, and other northern provinces on the storm’s path.

“The preventive evacuation [in the north] is ongoing. It will continue until before the storm hits,” National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) spokesman Anthony Golez said.

Golez said a “calibrated decamping” was being implemented in the Bicol Region. “This means people in areas where there is no more danger will be evacuated first.

This means the people along the coastlines, followed by those in flood-prone and lahar-prone areas,” Golez told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

At 4 p.m., the eye of “Mina” was located 180 kilometers north northwest of Virac town, Catanduanes province or 180 kilometers east southeast of Casiguran town, Aurora province, PAGASA said in its 5 p.m. bulletin.

The storm packs maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometers per hour near the center with gusts of up to 195 kilometers per hour. PAGASA said it will make landfall in Isabela province early Monday.

Public storm signal number 3 (100-180 kilometers per hour winds) was raised in, Isabela, Cagayan, Apayao, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Aurora, and Polillo Island.

Public storm signal number 2 (60-100 kilometers per hour winds) was raised in Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Northern Quezon, Nueva Ecija, Benguet, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Abra, and the Babuyan group of islands.

Public storm signal number 1 (30-60 kilometers per hour winds) was raised in Albay Camarines Sur, the rest of Quezon, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Pangasinan, and the Batanes group of islands.

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Written by joelguinto

Sun+00:002007-11-25T08:28:58+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Sun, 25 Nov 2007 08:28:58 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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