Virac disaster council: water crisis now over
posted 29-Oct-2018  ·  
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With the northeast monsoon set to start, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) has recommended the lifting of the state of calamity that was declared in Virac two months ago due to the scarcity of potable water.

In the Oct, 18, 2018 meeting of the council presided over by Mayor Samuel Laynes as chairman, the local office of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) informed that it has already declared the termination of the southwest monsoon in a statement due to the significant weakening of the “habagat” in the early days of October.

According to PAGASA Virac officer-in-charge Juan Pantino Jr., the end of “habagat” and the strengthening of the high pressure system over the Asian continent marked the gradual transition of the weather and will lead to the beginning of the northeast monsoon or “amihan” in the coming days.

Due to this change in weather condition, the country will experience local thunderstorms, easterlies, Intertropical Convergence Zones (ITCZ), low pressure areas, ridge of high pressure area, tail-end of a cold front, and tropical cyclones starting this October until March next year, the weatherman said.

However, PAGASA reiterated that the country is still under El Niño Watch with 50% to 55% chance of the phenomenon’s onset this November, with the probability increasing to 65% to 70% in December and until February next year.

It may be recalled that upon the MDRRMC recommendation, the Sangguniang Bayan declared the entire town under a state of calamity on Aug. 20 at the height of water supply problem triggered by the southwest monsoon, with the entire island suffering from rainless days that dried up water sources. The situation forced the Virac Water District to resort to rationing potable water supply, limiting most barangays in its service area to six hours of water supply daily.

This forced Mayor Laynes to seek the assistance of the Philippine Red Cross, through Chairman Sen.  Richard Gordon, which immediately dispatched to Virac water supply equipment consisting of a portable water filtration system, water bladder, and a 10,000-liter water truck.

Since Aug. 27, the joint water and sanitation operation conducted jointly by PRC Catanduanes chapter and the MDRRM Office of Virac was able to deliver a total of 515,000 liters of potable water to 13 barangays - Calatagan Proper, Calatagan Tibang, Sogod Tibgao, San Isidro Village, Palnab Del Sur, Danicop, Hawan Ilaya, Palta Big, Palta Small, Palta Salvacion, Balite, Pajo Baguio and Pajo San Isidro.

As of press time, however, VIWAD has yet to terminate its water rationing program. (PIU-Virac)

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