Nearly 1 million flee as Super Typhoon Rolly makes landfall in PH

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 01 2020 08:10 AM | Updated as of Nov 01 2020 11:27 AM

Super Typhoon Rolly lashes Legazpi City, Albay, as of 5 a.m. Sunday. Jose Carretero

MANILA (4th UPDATE) - Super Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) forced nearly a million residents of Bicol region to flee their homes ahead of its landfall in Bato town, Catanduanes early Sunday, national disaster officials said.

Tropical cyclone warning signal no. 5 was raised in Albay and Camarines Sur, where winds greater than 220 kph may blow off all signs and billboards and disrupt electrical power and communication services, PAGASA said in its 8 a.m. bulletin.

Rolly made a second landfall in the vicinity of Tiwi, Albay at 7:20 a.m., the state weather bureau added.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council warned local governments to focus on areas prone to flooding, landslide, lahar, and storm surges, its spokesman Mark Timbal said.

"Nakapag-evacuate po tayo ng (We have evacuated) almost 1 million people dyan sa (in the) Bicolandia," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. "Tuloy-tuloy pa rin po ang evacuation activities sa iba't iba pang rehiyon na madadaanan ng bagyo."

(Our evacuation activities continue in different regions that the
super typhoon will hit.)

The NDRRMC has some P800 million worth of standby funds, family food packs and non-food items ready for deployment, Timbal said.

The council has yet to receive reports of fatalities or cost of damage, its director Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad said.

Some 96,543 families or 346,993 persons in 12 regions were preemptively evacuated as of 10 a.m., according to Jalad.

An estimated population of 19.8 million are exposed to the super typhoon within its 60-kilometer diameter, said Jalad. Of this figure, 1.3 million were poor families, he added.

The regions exposed to the country's 18th storm this year include Metro Manila, the Cordilleras, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, and Zamboanga peninsula, according to Jalad.

Watch more in iWantTFC

Some 150,000 residents have been evacuated in Albay province, its governor Al Bichara said.

"May mga natanggalan ng bubong, may mga evacuation bumagsak ang bubong dito sa Legazpi. So talagang ito na siguro ang pinakamalakas na nakita ko sa buhay ko eh," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(Some houses were unroofed, some roofs of evacuation centers in Legazpi were destroyed. So this maybe the strongest storm I've seen in my life.)

Watch more in iWantTFC

In Camarines Sur, 29,426 families or 109,781 persons evacuated their homes, provincial disaster officials said.

The spillway in Barangay Aro‑aldao, Nabua, Camarines Sur is not passable and a huge part of the district has no electricity, said reporter Jonathan Magistrado.

PAGASA had likened Rolly's strength to Typhoon Rosing which hit the province in early November 1995, Magistrado added.

Rosing also hit Catanduanes, Bichara said as he recalled he served as governor at the time.

"Parang tinamaan ng atomic bomb. Wala ng puno, wala ng dahon eh. Tingin ko, ganun din ang mangyayari dito," he said.

(It was like an atomic bomb struck. There were no more trees, no more leaves. I think it will happen again this time.)

Watch more in iWantTFC

"Rolly" is packing 225 kph maximum sustained winds near the center and gusts of up to 280 kph, PAGASA said in its 5 a.m. bulletin.

Typhoon Rosing, meanwhile, had gusts of up to 260 kilometers an hour, caused carnage in Bicol and later in Manila from November 2, 1995, killing 936 people.

A total of 17,561 individuals or 4,890 families in Bicol also fled their landslide and lahar-prone homes on Saturday, according to the Office of Civil Defense there.

Residents of Iriga City in Bicol felt the super typhoon's winds of up to 120 kph, mayor Madel Alfelor said.

Watch more in iWantTFC

Some 2,723 families or 9,697 individuals evacuated their homes in Catanduanes, according to the Philippine Red Cross there, citing data from the provincial disaster office.

Electricity and cellphone signal in the province have been cut off, the PRC said.

Sorsogon, also hit by Typhoon Quinta last week, had enforced preemptive mandatory evacuation, its governor Chiz Escudero said.

Authorities began clearing operations in the southern towns of Bulan, Matnog and Sta. Magdalena "where its not too rainy and windy anymore," he said.

Residents of Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro, which was severely devastated by Quinta, had also begun to evacuate their homes.

Watch more in iWantTFC

The town of Mauban in Quezon, and the provinces of Aurora and Batangas will evacuate residents later Sunday, officials said. Some 20 families in Batangas have fled their homes on Saturday.

Some residents in Mauban town went to hotels Saturday as preemptive evacuation will begin 9 a.m. Sunday.

Police commanders were ordered to assist in evacuation in local governments, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said in a statement.

"The presence of our personnel in evacuation centers is necessary at this point since this would have positive impact on the perception of safety and security of our affected kababayan in this yet another challenge," said Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of JTF COVID Shield.

Metro Manila, and other portions of the Bicol Region, Mimaropa, and southern Luzon were placed under TCWS No. 4.

Several other areas in Luzon and parts of the Visayas were also under TCWS. No. 1 to 3.

--With reports from Jonathan Magistrado, Karren Canon, Raphael Bosano, Jeck Batallones, and Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News