Catholic dioceses in the southern and central Philippines are bracing for the onslaught of severe tropical storm Rai (local name: Odette) that is expected to cause storm surges, flash floods, and landslides.
“Our [social action arm] and the Catholic Relief Services are on standby for relief services,” said Bishop Emmanuel Trance of Catarman in the central Philippines in a radio interview on Tuesday, December 14.
The bishop said the local government unit has already set up its “disaster reduction preparations and early warning” in communities.
The bishop said that aside from the physical preparations, the diocese has also started praying an “Oratio Imperata” for the safety of everyone during the landfall of the storm.
“We are just bracing for what is to come and praying for not much harm and destruction, flooding of rivers, landslides, storm surges in coastal areas and islands,” said Bishop Trance over Church-run Radio Veritas 846.
Bishop Cosme Damian Almedilla of Butuan, meanwhile, reported that they have been experiencing already strong winds and rain brought about by the tropical storm.
“May we be secure in your loving protection, and in our concern and care for one another and for the whole of creation,” said the bishop in a prayer he recited over the radio.
“Help us to seek your will in all our experiences, that we may be faithful stewards of all your gifts with grateful hearts,” he added.
In the central Philippine province of Cebu, authorities have already started deploying rescue vehicles in anticipation of the storm’s impact.
The Philippines’ weather bureau Pagasa warned that the severe tropical storm will gradually intensify as it enters the “Philippine Area of Responsibility” on Tuesday evening.
While entering the Philippines, “favorable atmospheric conditions will favor sustained intensification prior to landfall,” said Pagasa in its latest bulletin.
“This tropical cyclone is forecast to reach typhoon category on Wednesday,” it added.
The storm is expected to bring “light to moderate with at times heavy rains” over Caraga and Davao Oriental regions in the southern Philippines.
The weather bureau said the passage of the cyclone over the central portion of the country “may bring heavy to torrential rainfall … which may bring possible flooding and rain-induced landslides.”
“Coastal inundation due to high waves near the coast and storm surge are also possible for low-lying localities near and along the path of the typhoon,” said Pagasa.