Negros Occidental on heightened alert for Auring, guv calls for prayers

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson placed Negros Occidental under heightened alert starting today, February 17, as Tropical Depression “Auring” approaches.

The current track of the tropical depression, which is projected by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), to develop into a tropical storm indicates that it could hit Negros Occidental on Sunday or Monday, the governor said.

However, the track of “Auring” could change, the governor said, as he called for prayers for the province to be spared from harm.

“Let us pray, prepare and be pro-active for a resilient and safer Negros,” he said.

The center of Tropical Depression “Auring” was estimated to be 700 km east southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur with maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 70 km/h as of 3 p.m. today, PAGASA said.

It is moving west northwestward at 15 km/h, it added.

The governor today directed all Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils in the province to heighten their preparedness, prepare emergency evacuation plans, and take appropriate precautionary actions for possible flooding, flash floods, or landslides.

Ensure waterways are clear, review your contingency plans and mitigate possible risks in your areas of responsibility, the governor said.

He also directed all DRRMOs to place their operation centers on heightened alert.

All district hospitals are also advised to go on heightened alert, Lacson added.

Zeaphard Caelian, Provincial Disaster Management Program Division head, said “Auring” is initially expected to hit the entire Negros Occidental but its path could change.

Caelian reminded residents living in flood-prone areas to be prepared for possible preemptive evacuation.

He also reminded residents not to drink alcohol while there is a danger of a natural disaster, noting that many persons who have drowned during floods were drunk.

Residents must know when and where to evacuate, they should not underestimate “Auring”, Caelian said.

Farmers should also harvest what they can before “Auring” hits, he added.


Caelian also warned that Kanlaon Volcano is still experiencing abnormal activity, although it remains at alert level one, which could trigger a phreatic eruption.

He said water that enters the volcano during heavy rains increases hydrothermal activity.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology at 8 a.m. today reported that Kanlaon’s monitoring network recorded 20 volcanic earthquakes in the past 24 hours.*

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