“Yolanda” hits Philippines

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Warning – PHILIPPINES – Update Super Typhoon Haiyan – Mass evacuations are underway in low-lying coastal areas; Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte, and Southern Leyte provinces. Based on projections, catastrophic damage is possible in Tacloban City, Ormoc City, Cebu City, Bacolod City, Cadiz City, Roxas City, Boracay, Looc (Romblon), Masbate, San Jose City (Occidental Mindoro), and Coron (Palawan).

Around 637 passengers, as well as 105 vehicles, were stranded in major ports across Bicol, according to reports reaching the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)- Bicol here Thursday, said.
Rafael Bernardo Alejandro, director of the OCD-Bicol, said maritime operations in small and major ports were suspended by Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) after the state weather bureau raised public storm signal number 1 in the six provinces of Bicol as super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan) entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) early Thursday morning.
Alejandro, quoting reports from PCG, said that as of 12 noon, most of the stranded passengers were from Matnog port, 486, and Pilar Port, 33–both in Sorsogon; 110, Tabaco port in Albay; and eight, San Andres port in Catanduanes.
He said the stranded vehicles consisted of 48 trucks, 11 cars, 37 passenger buses, two sea vessels and seven motorized bancas.
Alejandro said the Vietanamese cargo vessel Ming Tuan 68 was brought to Sula Channel, a cove in Bacacay, Albay, some 22 kilometers away from this city.
The cargo vessel, owned by Ming Truong Shipping Lines, was washed ashore at the height of tropical storm “Gorio” last July 2 this year, Alejandro said.
Meanwhile, Alejandro said classes in all levels and work in all public offices in the six Bicol
provinces were suspended while the Albay Bankers Association (ABA) announced that bank operations were suspended effective 12 noon.
Disaster authorities reported during the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council emergency meeting in the morning that various disaster response units were in place.



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