Thousands of families in Caraga region affected by 'Auring' onset

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 21) — At least 50,000 people or 13,700 families in the Caraga region have been affected by the Tropical Storm Auring, authorities said on Sunday.

In a statement, the Philippine National Police Caraga said that as of 12 noon on Sunday, 51,445 individuals or 13,725 families were affected by heavy rains and strong winds ahead of the storm's arrival. The figures were also confirmed by National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Ricardo Jalad in a mobile message.

They are currently staying in 661 evacuation centers in the region, the Police Regional Office added.

NDRRMC spokesman Mark Timbal told a briefing on Saturday preemptive evacuation operations started on that day amid the threat of the tropical storm.

State-run weather bureau PAGASA placed Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte including Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 2, where winds of 61 to up to 120 kilometers may bring light to moderate damage to the exposed communities, and sea and coastal waters are dangerous to small seacrafts.

READ: Signal No. 2 up in Eastern Samar, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte as Auring maintains strength

Police Brigadier General Romeo Caramat Jr. said they had so far deployed 1,063 personnel for search and rescue operations in affected areas. Over 800 personnel were also on standby for possible deployment.

About 4,000 passengers, drivers, and cargo helpers also got stranded in several ports in the Visayas, northern Mindanao, and Bicol region, as of 12 noon, the Philippine Coast Guard said in an advisory.

In its 5 p.m. bulletin, PAGASA said Auring may initially make landfall over the Dinagat Islands Monday morning.