Caraga region braces for tropical storm ‘Basyang’

By Noel B. Najarro

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 31 (PNA) — Still reeling from the effects of tropical storm “Agaton” which whipped the region with so much rains and widespread flooding causing loss of lives, displacement of thousands of families and millions of damage to properties, infrastructure and agriculture, Caraga again is bracing for another weather disturbance named “Basyang”, which has just entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), in its severe weather bulletin No. 4 at 11:00 a.m. Friday, said public storm signal No. 2 has been raised over the Dinagat Island Province, Surigao del Norte, including Siargao Island, northern part of Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Norte, which accordingly may experience winds of 61-100 kph in at least 24 hours. The rest of Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur are still under public storm signal No. 1.

At 12:00 noon Friday, PAGASA, in its situational report, said tropical storm “Basyang” was estimated at 500 kilometers northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

The region of Caraga is experiencing cloudy skies with light, moderate to occasional heavy rains which may affect portions of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao and this may continue for the next 2-3 hours, says PAGASA-Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Mindanao. Warnings of possible flooding in low-lying areas and landslides in mountainous areas have been raised.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council of Butuan City continues to monitor the water level of Agusan River which was at 1.70 meters as of 11:00 a.m. Friday. The PDRRMC also of Agusan del Norte continues to be on alert and in monitoring status after “Basyang” entered the country.

The Department of Interior and Local Government Caraga Regional Office also maintains 24/7 monitoring and has disseminated weather bulletins and advised local government units to take appropriate actions and preventive measures.

The PDRRMCs of the five provinces in the region had sent warning advisories to all their respective municipal disaster risk reduction and management councils. Fishermen in the region are advised not to venture into the seas until further notice. Dinagat PDDRMC has conducted its incident management team (IMT) briefing.

The regional disaster risk reduction management council operations center continues to maintain its 24/7 monitoring and undertakes frequent coordination with the local DRRMCs for situational update.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-13 said the first weather disturbance to hit the country this year, tropical depression “Agaton”, left the region with 110,715 families or 499,176 persons affected. Forty-six thousand five hundred and five (46,505) families or 216,514 persons from the total affected population are displaced and housed in 514 evacuation centers in five provinces including Butuan City. Twenty-three thousand and one hundred and seventy (23,170) families or 104,892 persons have returned to their homes while 29,623 or 136,932 persons are still left in 11 evacuation centers.

Also, 34 persons were reported dead, 29 injured and 4 missing from all over the region. Damage to lifeline (electricity, water, communications and similar services) costs P698,026,504.82 in Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

The infrastructure damage was also estimated to cost P4,178,100.00 as reported by the PDRRMCs of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur and agriculture at P72,969,602.00 as reported by the PDRRMCs of Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte.

OCD-13 said it is still in the process of preparing their final reports on the after effects of “Agaton”. (PNA)