People taking shelter in tents
Even while Philippines is trying to reach out relief to the victims of the last two devastating typhoons; Parma (Local name: Pepeng) and Ketsana (Local name: Ondoy), a third typhoon which is expected to be more strong is ready to ram into the nation. Typhoon Lupit (Local name: Ramil) which means “Cruel” is packing winds at speeds exceeding 195kmph (kilometer per hour) and gust of around 230kmph is moving at a speed of 15kmph.
“Ramil is expected to be a much stronger typhoon than the two weather systems we had in the last four weeks,” said Prisco Nilo, the PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) director.
Locals have been appraised of the situation and the area is being evacuated. Relief material is also being moved in the areas since most of the transport lines are expected to get severed off after the typhoon passes the region.
In a press briefing, National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) spokesman Lt. Col. Ernesto C. Torres, Jr. said the advisory would cover those living in “mountain slopes, river banks and coastal areas.””After seeing the devastation left by [typhoon] Pepeng [international name: Parma], it wouldn’t be hard to convince people to vacate risk areas and go to designated evacuation centers,” he said, adding authorities will “forcefully” evacuate residents if necessary.
NDCC said that the back-to-back storms have left more than 850 dead and property worth billions has been damaged. Millions of people have been left homeless from the fury of last two typhoons. The victims of the furious storms are livings in temporary relief camps and a contagious disease called Leptospirosis is already at large which by now has claimed more than a hundred lives.
The typhoons have killed people, ravaged properties and left millions homeless. While as an aftermath of the destructive rains and floods the health officials say 1.7 million people exposed to floodwaters in and around metropolitan Manila were being threatened by Leptospirosis, a disease spread by water contaminated with urine of infected animals. The disease has already claimed 96 lives among the 1,336 reported cases.
International bodies like the UNICEF have also pitched in with help and have prepared to supply relief material worth USD 200,000 to four points in N. Luzon.
While the agencies are on a all-out action mode, a spate of blame game is also on. The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) has blamed government officials who were allegedly remiss in using landslide prevention technologies for the recent calamities. FPI in an statement said that despite a 2002 directive, many national and local government offices did not use coco fiber materials.
PAGASA Director Nilo said that the current typhoon is expected to dump more than 300 millimeters of rain in a six-hour stretch and can cause severe landslides accompanied by flash floods. The damage would get multiplied since the land is still wet and soft from the heavy showers and flash flood due to last two storms.
“From the looks of it, there will be torrential rain from Ramil. And we already have antecedent conditions with Pepeng saturating the earth earlier, especially in the Cordillera region,” Nilo said.
At the current speed Lupit is expected to hit Luzon by Friday. PAGASA Deputy Director Nathniel Cruz said that though the Typoon has been picking up velocity and gust, the speed at whch it is progressing towards land has been slowing which can cause even more damage as it will give the typhoon more time to dump rains over Luzon.