Government admits difficulty in bringing assistance to Batanes calamity victims

Maris Federez   •   July 30, 2019   •   1137

More family food packs and relief goods arrived in Batanes on Sunday (July 28) to augment for the on-going relief operation for those affected by the earthquake in the province. (DSWD Region II)

The Department of National Defense (DND) admitted that the government is having difficulty in reaching out to the earthquake victims in Batanes.

DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that aside from the distance, they lack the necessary transport facilities, such as choppers or C-130s, to bring assistance to the town of Itbayat.

“It’s so far away, the nearest chopper is from Tuguegarao, Cagayan. Siguro iyan iyong challenge natin [Maybe our challenge is] how to get there and to attend to the injured and maybe recover or retrieve some of those natabunan [buried alive],” he said.

Basco Airport also could not accommodate large airplanes that are supposed to transport big volumes of medical and other supplies because its runway is only 800 meters.

“We are using Airforce C130 to go from Clark and Manila to Basco. And then from Basco, we load it on boats. And (it’s) three hours iyon by boat,” said Rene Meily, President of Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation.

The Office of Civil Defense said the government has sufficient supply of food, water, and other necessities, with the help of several civic groups.

They are looking forward, though, to the time when the runway will be longer for better delivery of services.

OCD Deputy Administrator for Operations Asec Casiano Monilla said, “Ang sinasabi natin na operations na will take time, of course, iyong sabi nga ng DOTr [The operations that will take time, of course, is what the DOTR was saying, that] they are looking on improving the airports, the airstrip para maka accommodate ng mas malaking [to accommodate larger] aircraft. And siguro tinitingnan natin iyong magkaroon ng breakwater ang Itbayat [We are also looking into building a breakwater in Itbayat].” (with reports from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

‘Liwayway’ further intensifies as it moves over Batanes

Robie de Guzman   •   September 3, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Severe Tropical Storm “Liwayway” continued to intensify on Tuesday afternoon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

In its 5 p.m. weather bulletin, PAGASA said the tropical cyclone wind signal no. 1 is still up in Batanes as “Liwayway” continues to move over the Philippine sea east of the province.

Residents in the area were advised to take precautionary measures against potentially strong winds.

The storm was last spotted at 225 kilometers east of Basco, Batanes, packing maximum sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 135 kph.

PAGASA said “Liwayway” is moving north at the speed of 15 kph.

The storm will bring light to moderate with intermittent heavy rains over Batanes and Babuyan Islands.

The state weather bureau maintains the storm is not expected to make a landfall and is seen to exit the Philippine area of responsibility as a typhoon by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, the southwest monsoon is seen to bring scattered light to moderate rains (with at times heavy rain showers during thunderstorms) over Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Metro Manila, CALABARZON, northern portions of Palawan (incl. Calamian Islands), Mindoro Provinces, and rest of Cordillera Administrative Region.

Residents in the said areas are advised to take precautionary measures against possible floods and landslides.

PAGASA also warned that sea travel is risky over the seaboards of Luzon due to potentially rough sea conditions.

Pinoy invents device that measures building’s structural integrity

Marje Pelayo   •   August 23, 2019

Dr. Francis Aldrine-Uy

MANILA, Philippines – The stability of a structure is best tested during strong earthquakes.

However, inspections usually take days to determine if a building has damage or if it can be declared safe to use.

To help in the process, a Filipino inventor has created a device which can be installed to a structure to measure its strength.

It is called the universal structural health evaluation and recording system (USHER).

Universal structural health evaluation and recording system (USHER).

Dr. Francis Aldrine-Uy said with the device, a building’s structural condition can be assessed just a few hours after an earthquake.

The local government units (LGUs), meanwhile, can immediately direct orders even to the most affected areas right after the device’s assessment is seen.

“Makikita na natin kung nakapula yung mga building na iyon, ibig sabihin nag-suffer ng structural damage ang mga building na iyon after an earthquake (We can see if the buildings are in color red, it means that the building suffered structural damage after the earthquake,)” explained Dr. Uy, the President and CEO of USHER, the inventor of the device.

“Doon po natin i-concentrate ang tulong o ang response na pwede nating madala doon, (That’s where we may concentrate our response,)” he added.

The invention, which is in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), can be installed in public facilities like bridges and railways of MRT and LRT.

The device can also measure the degree of intensity when an earthquake strikes.

Regarding the price, Uy said it is way cheaper than those made abroad.

“It could be at least 50% lower in cost,” Dr. Uy said.

“And of course, it will be more sustainable dahil nga ito ay gawang Pinoy at dito natin mina-manufacture (because it’s Filipino made and is locally manufactured),” he added.

Dr. Uy said the instrument can help in mitigating the impact of a strong quake like ‘the Big One’ which is expected to cause massive damages and loss of thousands of lives. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Typhoon Hanna gains strength as it nears exit on Friday

Marje Pelayo   •   August 8, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Hanna continues to intensify as it moves towards Japan, according to the latest forecast from state weather service PAGASA.

As of 4:00 AM on Thursday (August 8), the eye of Typhoon Hanna was located at 485 km East Northeast of Basco, Batanes, packed with maximum sustained winds of 175 kph and is moving northwest at 15 kph towards the southern part of Ryukyu islands in Japan.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TWCS) #1 remains over Batanes and Babuyan group of islands where light to moderate rains with at times heavy rains and gusty winds will be experienced throughout the day brought about by the enhanced southwest monsoon or habagat.

Likewise, moderate to heavy monsoon rains may affect MIMAROPA, Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, and Batangas.

Meanwhile, light to moderate with at times heavy rains may prevail over Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon and Western Visayas.

PAGASA warned that sea travel is not advised over the seaboards of Batanes, the seaboards of Luzon and Visayas, and the northern and eastern seaboards of Mindanao due to potentially rough sea conditions.

The weather agency said Typhoon Hanna is less likely to make landfall on any part of the country but will continue to intensify as it nears exiting the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) expectedly Friday morning.

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