Agencies prepare for ‘Mawar,’ now a super typhoon still far from PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 23) — Government agencies are preparing for the possible effects of Mawar, which is now a super typhoon outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday afternoon.

In its 4 p.m. bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Mawar was 2,285 kilometers east of the Visayas, heading northward at 15 kilometers per hour (kph), and with center winds of 185 kph and gusts of 230 kph.

Mawar will be named Betty once it enters PAR, which PAGASA said is likely to happen on Friday or Saturday.

It is expected to enhance the southwesterly wind flow, which currently affects the western parts of Southern Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao, along with the frontal system affecting extreme Northern Luzon.

“Mababa po ang tiyansang mag-landfall po ito sa anumang bahagi ng ating bansa ngunit patuloy na mag-antabay sa updates tungkol dito,” PAGASA weather forecaster Rhea Torres said.

[Translation: There is a low chance that it will make landfall in any part of our country, but stay tuned for updates.]

Preps underway

With Mawar forecast to enter the country’s weather monitoring area this weekend, agencies are preparing search-and-rescue assets and food packs, among other aid.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has sent nearly 690,000 relief goods “everywhere in the country,” Secretary Rex Gatchalian said in a press briefing.

“We have worked with PAGASA on the modeling that it seems going to, it seems at this point, kasi [because] it’s very early. It’s going to affect Regions II, Regions I, all the way to Batanes,” he added.

Gatchalian said his agency is working on doubling the stockpile of food packs in Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley, which is currently at around 30,000.

He added that there are enough funds for disaster response, along with the quick response fund from the national government.

Meanwhile, the coast guard said it mobilized quick response teams to the Cordillera Administrative Region and Ilocos Region.

It added search-and-rescue assets were deployed in the event of flooding.