Govt, church prepare for landfall of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’

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Fishermen at a coastal village in Dolores, Eastern Samar haul their outrigger to safer ground in preparation for Supertyphoon Yolanda, November 6. The PAGASA reported that the typhoon is expected to make a landfall in Eastern Visayas on Friday.

MANILA, Nov. 7, 2013— Local government and church officials have worked together in mitigating the possible effects of Typhoon Yolanda, this year’s strongest weather disturbance.

In Albay, while officials prepare and preposition government vehicles and relief goods, Bishop Joel Baylon has already ordered his Social Action Center director to coordinate with appropriate agencies.

“To avoid duplication, since the government has an existing program for situations like this, we will coordinate with local government units,” Baylon said.

He added he called on the Catholic faithful to recite the Oratio Imperata or obligatory prayer for good weather, which they found effective since super typhoon “Reming” severely damaged the region in 2006.

Palo Archbishop John Du said aside from sincerely praying for God’s protection, he reminded the people to cut branches of big trees and reinforce their wooded homes and nipa huts.

“I also reminded them to secure candles, flashlights, water and non-perishable food products,” he said. The Archdiocesan Social Action Center has also purchased food commodities for distribution and organized first-aid responders.

Over in Catarman, Northern Samar, Bishop Emmanuel Trance said their provincial and municipal disaster mitigation councils have been activated since yesterday.

“Our Social Action Center personnel have begun coordination with government counterparts,” Trance said.

He added he was informed “Yolanda” will reach Eastern and Samar provinces before the severe weather condition passes them by.

“We were told “Yolanda” may be in our area by 3:00 PM on Friday, November 8,” Trance also said.

Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas, SDB, said he and his clergy are presently in Batangas for their annual spiritual retreat, which will last until Saturday.

“We’re praying that we maybe spared from the super typhoon,” Cantillas said as he requested for more prayers from non-Southern Leyte residents.

Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez said they have already helped inform the people of the approaching super typhoon and called on everyone to pray.

The provincial government of Eastern Samar also alerted concerned agencies for possible evacuations and ensure enough food, water and medicine supplies.

Eastern Samar is usually the gateway for Philippine typhoons from the South Pacific.

As far as Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD is concerned, he has already required his parish priests and heads of religious congregations and institutions to reinforce their buildings.

“We have also declared ‘safe areas’ to serve as evacuation centers and already prepared food items for relief operations,” he said.

Bastes said his office and priests are in close coordination with government officials to facilitate service to local residents.

Meanwhile, Sorsogon City Mayor Sally Lee said they’ve focused their attention into evacuating people from high-risk areas to protect people from both landslides and flash floods. (Melo M. Acuna)

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