Philippines braces for possible onslaught of Super Typhoon Mawar

Despite the El Niño season, the Philippines is bracing for the possible onslaught of Typhoon Mawar (local name Betty), estimated to enter the Philippine shores by Friday evening (May 26, 2023) or next day.

In the state weather bureau PAGASA report as of 11 a.m. today, Mawar was spotted at 1,705kilometers (km) east of Southern Luzon, lashing maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour (km/h) near the center and gustiness of up to 260 km/h, as it moves at west towards the sea area of Extreme Northern Luzon.

Mawar is also forecast to enhance the southwest monsoon or habagat and may trigger heavy rains — which may cause flooding or rain-induced landslides over Northern Luzon, PAGASA added. It may also bring monsoon rains over the western portions of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon and Visayas beginning Sunday or Monday as well.

In preparation for a super typhoon, the Philippine government takes all possible precautionary measures to prevent and minimize casualties. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in a recent briefing, has ordered all local government units to prepare for the possible effects. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has also prepositioned food packs for at least 50,000 families in the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions.  The Philippine Coast Guard efforts by packing relief supplies and family packs to be distributed to those possibly affected, as well as assigning deployable groups and response teams to the Ilocos and the Cordillera Administrative Valley regions.

Pangasinan, located some 162 km away from Manila, is feared to be one of the possible provinces in northern Luzon to be affected.  World Vision program officer Wilma Alvarez, based in Area Programme (AP) Pangasinan, shares that the local government is preparing for the possible rains brought by Mawar.  “The local Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office told us that an alert has already been raised in the province, and that it was closely monitoring the track of the typhoon. World Vision currently has 4,103 children under its care through its community development programs. “The local disaster management office is also set to conduct a meeting for further preparation on the possible wrath of Mawar,” Alvarez adds.

Meanwhile, World Vision humanitarian and emergency affairs (HEA) director Ligaya Muñez expressed, “World Vision is also concerned with the well-being and special needs of the most vulnerable, including children and pregnant women, in anticipation of this super typhoon. We are prepared to immediately deploy teams for rapid assessments and relief response as we have prepositioned food and non-food (WASH and shelter assistance) relief items to initially assist affected families in the hardest-hit areas. Let’s continue to pray Mawar wouldn’t be as strong and devastating as predicted.”

World Vision currently assists over 62,000 Filipino children through its child-focused programs in the country.

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