The Philippines is preparing for a possible evacuation in case the North Korean rocket debris makes landfall on the populated areas in the Philippines.
North Korea is launching a rocket reportedly aimed at putting a satellite in orbit. The rocket will be launched sometime between April 12 to 16 at 6:00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m, Philippine time, depending on the weather situation.
Allan Tabell of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said there is a possibility of a mass casualty if the rocket debris fall on populated areas.
“(DILG) Secretary (Jesse) Robredo has ordered all governors and mayors in northeastern Luzon including Bicol to prepare contingency plans. We are talking about practically the entire Luzon,” Tabell said in a press briefing yesterday.
“There’s a possibility of mass casualty,” the DILG official said. “If it (debris) falls on a populated area, there is a possibility of suffering casualties. That is what we are preparing for. Walang kapalit ang paghahanda (There’s no substitute for preparedness),” he added.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported there is a hairline difference between the debris tract near Polilio Island and Metro Manila, so there is a need to get the population prepared for any eventuality.
Paek Chang Ho, chief of the North Korean space committee’s General Command Center, said the satellite is intended to gather images and data used for weather forecasts and agricultural surveys.
“Some parties insist our peaceful space program is a missile test,” he told foreign reporters taken Wednesday to the nation’s main satellite command center in the outskirts of Pyongyang. “We don’t really care what the outside world thinks. This launch is critical to developing our space program and improving our economy.”
Meanwhile, authorities have scheduled the diversion of scheduled flights to avoid being hit by rocket debris from the rocket fallout.
About 20 domestic and international flights will be rerouted between Thursday and Monday as precautionary measure, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)
Likewise, authorities have advised fishermen and ships to avoid waters in the rocket fall path which has been identified as those around the vicinity of Northern Luzon.