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Tropical depression to hit north eastern Mindanao

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

A low-pressure area (LPA) on the southwest Pacific (east of Mindanao) is currently moving towards the Philippines with maximum wind speed of 35 km/h according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The LPA is forecasted to intensify into a tropical depression as it continues its west-northwest track towards Mindanao land mass. The weather disturbance is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) between 18 and 19 January and is also expected to bring moderate to heavy rain over north eastern Mindanao and then traverse central Visayas.

Based on the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model, heavy rainfall (greater than 7.5 mm per hour) is currently expected over Caraga Region (Region XIII), Davao Region (Region XI) and Eastern Visayas (VIII). The weather disturbance is expected to make landfall over the southern part of Davao region and traverse north through Caraga, Eastern Visayas up to Bicol region.

Caraga is particularly vulnerable as these are mountainous areas with river valleys and are susceptible to floods and landslides. The current landfall is forecasted for Caraga Region, Surigao del Sur Province located along the northeastern coast of Mindanao. Situated west is the Diwata Mountain Range, isolating the province from the rest of Mindanao.

Caraga is susceptible to landslides due to its rugged terrain, while the Agusan River Valley (the third largest river basin in the country, with a total drainage area of 11,937 square kilometres and an estimated length of 390 kilometres from its head origin in Compostela Valley) that stretches all the way to Davao, Butuan and Surigao makes the region prone to flash floods.

As the LPA moves closer, government authorities are likely to pre-emptively evacuate families living near the coast, riverbanks, landslide prone areas and other vulnerable places. The rain from the weather disturbance is expected to cause floods and landslides which is expected to cause casualties and damage to shelter, crops, livestock and livelihoods.

The NDRRMC is currently on standby and is sending advisories to the Local DRRMOs. The public will be warned against flooding, flash floods, and landslides once a clearer information on the weather disturbance will come.