Philippines Scrambles to Prepare as Typhoon Bears Down
MANILA — Thousands of people inside the path of a powerful typhoon began evacuating their homes inside the northern Philippines on Thursday as officials scrambled to prepare for what could be a devastating storm.
Typhoon Mangkhut, with winds measuring up to 173 miles an hour, is usually supposed to make landfall on Saturday in northern Luzon, the country’s largest in addition to most populous island. The region is usually home to four million people.
The Philippines’ civil defense chief, Ricardo Jalad, briefed top officials, including President Rodrigo Duterte, in addition to said of which government agencies were positioning emergency response teams, food, equipment in addition to medical supplies inside the areas likely to be affected.
Officials also were setting up evacuation centers, many of them in schools, in addition to encouraging the elderly, children in addition to additional vulnerable people to take shelter there. Airports were closed as well.
The approach of Typhoon Mangkhut has stirred memories of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the central Philippines in 2013, wreaking devastation across a wide section of the country in addition to killing more than 6,000 people.
The president then, Benigno S. Aquino III, was widely seen as unprepared for the magnitude of the disaster, in addition to his administration’s relief effort was criticized as slow in addition to inefficient.
Mr. Duterte is usually hoping to avoid a similar outcome.
He has deployed members of his cabinet to the provinces inside the typhoon’s path to help oversee emergency in addition to relief efforts. yet he told reporters of which of which was premature to seek foreign assistance.
“of which could depend on the severity of the crisis,” Mr. Duterte said. “If of which flattens everything, maybe we need to have some help.”
The typhoon, called Ompong inside the Philippines, was a few hundred miles offshore inside the Pacific on Thursday.
Save the Children Philippines, which provides disaster relief inside the Philippines, was also deploying emergency workers in addition to stockpiling supplies inside the region ahead of the storm.
The group’s chief executive, Alberto Muyot, said the typhoon had the potential to cause large-scale damage. Families in its path, he said, should take shelter in evacuation centers.
“We haven’t seen a typhoon This kind of powerful hit the Philippines in some time,” Mr. Muyot said. “We’re particularly concerned about those living in coastal in addition to low-lying communities, which are set to face ferocious winds, heavy rainfall in addition to flooding, as well as the risk of storm surge.”
In addition to worries about deaths in addition to the destruction of property, officials are also concerned about the typhoon’s effect on farming inside the region, which grows much of the country’s food. The agriculture secretary, Emmanuel Piñol, said an estimated three million acres planted with rice in addition to corn are inside the path of the typhoon.
The province of Ilocos Norte, at the northwestern tip of Luzon, is usually the birthplace of the longtime dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in addition to remains the Marcos family’s political base.
His daughter, Imee R. Marcos, the governor of the province, was leading efforts there to prepare for the typhoon. She urged residents to secure their houses in addition to to assist members of the community who are in need of help.
“Our priority is usually saving human lives,” she said.
Felipe Villamor contributed reporting.