MANILA Disaster response teams of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are on standby to provide humanitarian assistance in areas affected by Typhoon "Ompong" (international name "Mangkhut").
"(For) 'Ompong', the AFP is prepared through NOLCOM (Northern Luzon Command, which is based in Tarlac City and has units) in the affected areas in the North will be the first responders but they are also prepared to bear the direct effect of 'Ompong' on them and their facilities," AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said in a text message Thursday.
He said both air and naval assets are ready for the typhoon which is considered the most powerful typhoon to hit the country this year.
"AFP units just outside the affected area to include NCR (National Capital Region) are ready to follow on force. All of the AFP preparations are in coordination with NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council)," Detoyato said.
Earlier, National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council executive director Ricardo Jalad said the Search Rescue and Retrieval Cluster has already deployed a rapid damage and needs assessment team at Clark Field, Pampanga and could be deployed anywhere in the affected areas.
Authorities have ordered preemptive evacuations in areas on the path of "Ompong". Both classes and work were suspended and farmers were told to harvest their crops early to reduce the damage.
In its 8 a.m. severe weather bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has upgraded tropical cyclone warning signals in areas along its track especially in northern Luzon. Northern Aurora, Cagayan and Isabela have been placed under signal number 3.
"Ompong", last observed at 605 kilometers east of Baler, Quezon at 7 a.m., is packing winds at 205 kph, gustiness of 255 kph and moving toward northern Luzon at 20 kph. It will make landfall in Cagayan-Isabela area on Saturday (Sept. 15). (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency