Philippine Amateur Radio Association (PARA) activated its Ham Emergency Radio Operations (HERO) last Saturday in view of the imminent traverse of typhoon Melor ( Locally called Nona) through the Philippine archipelago as announced by the National Traffic System Chairman DU1VHY Jojo Vicencio on air during the 7am DU NET.
As of this time, Melor is traveling westward. The weather.com.ph service site issued a bulletin at 8:00 P.M. local time saying that the “the Eye of Typhoon MELOR has made its second landfall over Bulusan, Sorsogon at around 4 – 5 PM this afternoon. It is currently moving towards Ticao and Burias Islands.
Stormy Weather will continue to prevail across the Bicol Region throughout the evening. A Weather Philippines Automated Weather Stations (AWS) in Casiguran, Sorsogon (Brgy. Central) has recorded a Typhoon Force Wind Gusts of 185 kph from 5:10 PM to 5:20 PM today.”
HERO is using 7.095 MHz LSB as its calling frequency for emergency traffic and PARA has requested neighboring member associations to keep clear of the frequency except for emergency traffic.
ORARI has abided by the PARA request and some of its members could be heard last Sunday December 13, 2015 requesting stations straying into the frequency to QSY. Danny Halim, YB2TVJ, was heard requesting YB stations to QSY and to keep the frequency exclusively open for emergency traffic.
Starting as early at 5:30am of December 14, 2015, Jojo, DU1VHY; Thelma, DU1IVT and Romy, DU1SMQ were on hand to monitor the frequency. Stations from the Eastern Visayas or DU5 area previously hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, ACCESS5 and RADNET5 ham clubs and those from the Bicol region or DU4 area, ACES, ARCC, AREA, CANORA, CARE4 and ISLACOM ham clubs, checked into the emergency net and reported their preparations.
Nona (Melor) made it first landfall in the vicinity between Catarman, Northern Samar and Sorsogon in the Southern Luzon. Stations in Eastern Samar and Tacloban City were on hand to cover whatever eventuality.
Some hams are embedded in their local disaster risk reduction and management councils/offices. Also very active is the station of DV5PO Lester Price of Borongan, Eastern Samar in giving updates.
At midday, the province of Albay declared a state of imminent emergency and declared all work suspended, declared no-classes for all levels, and closed down commercial establishments. The declaration is the go-signal for local government units (LGUs) to activate government spending for emergencies and disasters. Pre-emptive evacuations were done for coastal towns in danger of dangerous storm surges on both DU4 and DU5 areas since Sunday as reported by HERO stations.
As the storm progresses through the Bicol region, PARA members continued to give reports on 7.095 with their back up power. The projected typhoon path is westerly through Sibuyan Sea towards the islands of Masbate and a possible third landfall in the northernmost part of Oriental Mindoro near the municipality of Calapan by tomorrow, December 15.
-Ramon J. Anquilan DU1UGZ