‘Urduja’ to hit Cebu today

TROPICAL depression Urduja is expected to hit northern Cebu and parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao at 10 a.m today with winds of at least 50 km per hour, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said yesterday.Storm signal No. 1 was hoisted over Cebu, Negros and Bohol provinces. As of 4 p.m yesterday, the center of Urduja was located 40 km north of Surigao province with maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour.Oscar Tabada of the Pagasa’s Mactan office said Urduja was projected to move slowly in the west northwest. Some 2,753 people were stranded in several ports of southern Luzon, the Visayas and northern Mindanao, with 746 stranded in Cebu's ports.Aside from Cebu, the provinces under signal No. 1 include Masbate and Romblon in Luzon; Eastern and Western Samar, Biliran, Leyte provinces, Bohol, Negros provinces, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo and Guimaras in the Visayas.Storm signal No. 1 was also foisted over Camiguin, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat, and Siargao Island. The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council in Central Visayas (RDCC-7) undertook preparations in anticipation of Urduja's entry into the Visayas regions.Chief Supt. Lani-O Nerez, Police Regional Office (PRO-7) director and RDCC chairman, said equipment and teams were on standby in case of emergency. He said they were also asking school official to monitor the weather and cancel classes if necessary depending on their assessment.Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador Jr., Cebu City police director, and Senior Supt. Jesus Gaquing, provincial police chief, said precinct chiefs were tasked to monitor their areas in coordination with their mobile patrol groups.Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia convened the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) and ordered stakeholders to brace for any untoward incident brought by the tropical depression. Dump trucks, pay loaders, backhoes and two helicopters were also being readied for any clearing operations. (Freeman)

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