Philippines braces for Super Typhoon Mawar

BenarNews staff
Philippines braces for Super Typhoon Mawar Villagers secure their catch and boats in preparation for Super Typhoon Mawar in Navotas city, Metro Manila, May 26, 2023.
Basilio Sepe/BenarNews

The northern Philippines was bracing on Friday for the arrival of Super Typhoon Mawar, which was on track to sweep through Luzon island after wreaking havoc in the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. 

The Philippine state weather bureau said that the year’s first typhoon, known locally as Betty, was expected to sustain winds of up 215 kph (133 mph) near its center and gusts of up to 260 kph (161 mph) – the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. 

Mawar was expected to arrive in the country on Friday night or early Saturday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. 

Torrential rains, landslides and gale-force winds are expected to pound the northern region of Luzon, the country’s heavily populated main island. It also was expected to exacerbate monsoon rains across the Southeast Asian nation, which experiences at least 20 storms a year, some of them deadly. 

On Friday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the government was in constant communication with local officials whose communities lie in the projected path of the typhoon, adding they were told to stock up on food, water and emergency supplies. 

“So, what we are doing is we leave it to the local government units right now to make the call on their specific steps,” Marcos told reporters in Manila. “But the national government will be there to assist.

“We are preparing for its effect not just in the northern part of the country, but also in all other areas that may be affected,” Marcos said. 

Adequate manpower, relief assistance, and humanitarian supplies were in place in anticipation of potential evacuations, said Diego Mariano, an official with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

“We are not discounting its strength. We continue preparing for whatever may happen. Our rescuers, responders and disaster workers are on alert and on standby,” he said. 

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Men clear the remains of a large tree knocked over by Super Typhoon Mawar in Mongmong-Toto-Maite, Guam, May 25, 2023. [Grace Garces Bordallo/AP]

Mawar ravaged Guam on Tuesday, generating hurricane-force winds and knocking out power on the island territory in the western Pacific Ocean. 

Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, said volunteers and assets had been mobilized. 

“We prepared relief goods for people who may be displaced by the typhoon,” he said. 

Rexlon Gachalian, the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, said staffers had prepositioned food packs and non-food items for families expected to be in the path of the storm.

In Basco, the capital of Batanes, a province at Luzon’s northern tip, the Philippine Air Force airlifted boxes of relief goods on Thursday.

“Relief operations require data and we thank all the agencies for giving us these to help us deliver accurate services to our stakeholders,” Gachalian said. 

Last September, Super Typhoon Noru, the most powerful storm to strike the Philippines in 2022, left at least five people dead in massive flooding that forced the evacuation of thousands. 

In November 2013, more than 6,500 people died or went missing after Super Typhoon Haiyan wallopped the central Philippines and spawned massive storm surges that inundated coastal communities.  

Basilio Sepe and Gerard Carreon in Manila, Jeoffrey Maitem and Mark Navales in Davao city, Philippines, contributed to this report.


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