The Maui News

Thousands evacuated as Philippine­s warns of flooding, landslides from approachin­g Typhoon Mawar


MANILA, Philippine­s — Philippine officials began evacuating thousands of villagers, shut down schools and offices and imposed a no-sail ban Monday as Typhoon Mawar approached the country’s northern provinces a week after battering the U.S. territory of Guam.

The typhoon is packing maximum sustained winds of 96 mph and gusts of up to 118 mph but is forecast to spare the northern mountainou­s region a direct hit. Current projection­s show the typhoon veering northeast by midweek toward Taiwan or southern Japan.

Authoritie­s warned of dangerous tidal surges, flash floods and landslides as it blows past Cagayan and the northernmo­st province of Batanes from Tuesday to Wednesday. Gusty winds lashed eastern villages of Cagayan on Monday, causing an old and unoccupied warehouse in a wharf to collapse and prompting more villagers to move to evacuation centers.

Nearly 5,000 people have sought shelter in Cagayan, Batanes and other provinces, said Assistant Secretary Raffy Alejandro of the Office of Civil Defense. He said the number was expected to rise given the precaution­ary evacuation­s that were underway in floodand landslide-prone regions.

Classes and office work, except those involved in disaster-preparedne­ss, have been suspended. Flights to and from the provinces have been canceled and fishing and passenger vessels prohibited from sailing. In at least one province, officials imposed a liquor ban.

“Even if the sun is up, the weather is so unpredicta­ble nowadays and could change anytime so we should always stay on the side of safety,” Alejandro told The Associated Press. “We’re talking here of potential threats to lives.”

Mawar tore through Guam last week as the strongest typhoon to hit the U.S. Pacific territory in over two decades, flipping cars, tearing off roofs and knocking down power.

“These typhoons, earthquake­s and natural calamities have been a part of our lives,” Batanes Vice Gov. Ignacio Villa told the AP by telephone. “We cannot afford not to prepare because that would potentiall­y mean the loss of lives and major damage.”

Army troops, police, firefighte­rs and volunteer groups were standing by for search and rescue operations and more than a million food packs have been prepared for any contingenc­y, officials said.

Villa said the local government lent ropes to villagers in high-risk communitie­s to strengthen their houses as the typhoon approached. Batanes, a chain of islands with about 19,000 people, has been experienci­ng nightly power outages in recent days because a tanker ship carrying fuel for its power generators had taken shelter from the approachin­g typhoon.

While the typhoon was threatenin­g mostly the country’s northern provinces, government forecaster­s said it could enhance monsoon rains in other regions farther south, including the capital, Manila, and in the central Philippine­s.

About 20 typhoons and storms each year batter the Philippine archipelag­o, which also lies on seismic faults where volcanic eruptions and earthquake­s occur, making the Southeast Asian nation one of the world’s most disaster-prone.

In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing, flattened entire villages, swept ships inland, demolished about a million shanties and houses and displaced more than 5 million in one of the country’s poorest regions in the central Philippine­s.

 ?? National Institute of Informatio­n and Communicat­ions Technology image via AP ?? Typhoon Mawar is shown in this image approachin­g Philippine northern provinces on Monday.
National Institute of Informatio­n and Communicat­ions Technology image via AP Typhoon Mawar is shown in this image approachin­g Philippine northern provinces on Monday.

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