'Pablo' forces 53,000 people to evacuate homes

Posted at 12/04/12 9:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Typhoon “Pablo” (international codename: "Bopha") has forced more than 53,000 people belonging to 11,059 families to evacuate their homes, according to the latest bulletin released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday.

NDRRMC said as of 12 noon, a total of 53,441 (11,059 families) are temporarily seeking shelter in 94 evacuation centers in eastern Visayas, northern Mindanao, Davao region, and CARAGA.

The typhoon made landfall in the coastal town of Baganga in Davao Oriental Tuesday morning, but the worst-hit area so far is Surigao del Sur, where 33,521 persons were forced to flee their homes due to floods.

They are now staying in 35 evacuation centers in the province.

NDRRMC said at least 2 people have been confirmed dead. No missing people have been reported so far.

NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos also reported a landslide in Compostela Valley, but he has yet to determine if there are casualties.

Meanwhile, NDRRMC said a total of 3,268 passengers are stranded in ports all over the country.

Thousands are also stranded in airports due to more than 60 cancelled flights.

Several provinces are also experiencing blackouts due to strong winds brought by the typhoon.

Ramos said the whole of Davao Oriental del Norte does not have electricity, while 7 municipalities in Surigao del Sur, 1 municipality in Agusan del Sur and 1 municipality in Surigao del Norte have no power.

'Pablo' slightly weakens

State weather bureau PAGASA said the typhoon has slightly weakened as it hit land.

From its previous wind strength of 175 kilometers per hour (kph), Pablo is now packing maximum sustained winds of 160 kph near the center and gusts of up to 195 kph.

A total of 46 areas are under storm signals.

The weather bureau said the following areas have been placed under signal no. 3 (101-185 kilometers per hour of winds):

Southern Cebu
Southern Negros Oriental
Southern Negros Occidental
Misamis Oriental
Lanao del Sur
Lanao del Norte
Misamis Occidental
Zamboanga del Norte
The following areas, meanwhile, have been placed under signal nos. 2 and 1:

Signal no. 2 (61-100 kph winds)

Northern Palawan
Calamian Group of Islands
Cuyo Islands
Southern Leyte
Rest of Cebu
Camotes Island
Rest of Negros Oriental
Rest of Negros Occidental
Surigao del Norte
Siargao Island
Surigao del Sur
Dinagat Province
Agusan del Norte
Agusan del Sur
Davao del Norte
Samal Island
Compostela Valley
Davao Oriental
North Cotabato
Zamboanga del Sur
Zamboanga Sibugay

Signal no. 1 (30-60 kph winds)

Rest of Palawan
Davao del Sur
Sultan Kudarat
South Cotabato

Pablo is expected to be near the boundary of the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Friday.