Erap places rescue teams in standby as ‘Gorio’ continues to pummel Metro Manila

As heavy rains brought by severe tropical storm Gorio continue to pound Metro Manila, which PAGASA forecasted to last until this weekend, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has placed the city’s first responders in indefinite full alert – ready in a moment’s notice to come to the aid of distressed Manileños.

Estrada, who has since been closely monitoring the weather, today reassured that the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDDRMO) is highly trained and fully equipped to handle all kinds of emergency.

“Our rescue and emergency units are on standby since the other day,” the Manila mayor said, “and when push comes to shove, they’ll rush anywhere in the city where they are desperately needed, come hell or high water.”

Estrada added he has also activated and placed on standby alert the all-volunteer Manila Community Emergency Response Teams (MCERTs) established in each of the city’s 896 barangays that serve as first responders in the communities during calamities and disasters.

Citing latest reports coming from the MDRRMO headquarters at the city hall, Estrada said no evacuation is expected within the day as floods have subsided in most areas.

Since assuming office in 2013, Estrada has poured in almost P1 billion to the city government’s continuous disaster risk reduction capability-building and modernization program.

MDDRMO chief Johnny Yu said three 12-man teams are on a 24-hour alert – all experts in water and underwater search and rescue and hazardous material response.

“We have readied two amphibious trucks and two mini amphibious vehicles we could use in possible evacuation scenario, plus five inflatable rescue boats and the rest of our rescue gears and equipment,” he said.

All rescue and relief operations, Yu added, will be directed by an all-weather, highly mobile Incident Command van equipped with latest communication and monitoring equipment.

“We’ve been continuously training and drilling our men in all kinds of emergency situations,” he assured.

Among the areas still closely being watched this morning include R. Papa Street, Gen. Malvar near Taft Avenue, P. Burgos near Lagusnilad, Oroquieta corner Fugoso streets in Sta. Cruz, and Taft Avenue-UN intersection, according to MDRRMO’s 9 am flood monitoring report.

“As of this time, we have not monitored flooded areas, although mas mataas nang konti ang ine-expect na rainfall ngayon, 3 mm to 12 mm,” Yu said.
R. Papa, which was submerged by deep floodwaters yesterday, is now passable to all types of vehicles, same with other roads that experienced flooding, he added.

Gorio has continued to gain more strength and speed as it heads for Taiwan even as a new tropical depression was seen brewing over the West Philippine Sea, based on PAGASA’s 5 am weather monitoring.

The city government has suspended classes in all levels, public and private, today.

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