P352 million set aside for Betty response activities
MANILA, Philippines — Disaster managers ordered on Sunday a preemptive evacuation of residents living in highly susceptible areas in Cagayan Valley even after Betty (international name: Mawar) was downgraded from supertyphoon to typhoon.
But Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 1 remained hoisted over 12 provinces: Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, Ilocos Norte, parts of Abra, Kalinga, parts of Mountain Province, parts of Ifugao, parts of Aurora, Quirino and parts of Nueva Vizcaya.
Local authorities were also told to strictly prohibit sailing, fishing, and river activities ahead of Typhoon Betty’s expected rains in northern Luzon and parts of Cagayan Valley on Monday.
The Office of Civil Defense has set aside at least P108 million worth of nonfood items and another P244 million on standby for quick response activities, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said. So the fund totals P352 million so far.
Emergency preparedness and response protocols were also activated in several parts of the country. Equipment for emergency telecommunications and transportation assets were also placed on standby, it said.
Troops standing by
More than 1,600 troops from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and Bureau of Fire Protection were also standing by for possible disaster response.
“We continue to coordinate with different agencies on preparations for Typhoon Betty. This is to ensure that all necessary measures are in place from the national down to the local level,” Ariel Nepomuceno, executive director of the NDRRMC, was quoted as saying.
The Philippine Army said its 5th Infantry Division in Isabela has discussed with the NDRRMC the prepositioning of water filtration units “in key areas” of Cagayan Valley.
Plans were also discussed between the Army and local government for humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts in areas affected by the tropical cyclone.
Typhoon Betty has slightly weakened and is now moving west-northwestward over the Philippine Sea east of northern Luzon, according to the 5 p.m. update of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
According to Pagasa weather forecaster Veronica Torres, the eye of the storm was 630 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City in Cagayan at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Betty packed maximum sustained winds of 165 km per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 205 kph.
“Over the next 36 hours, we expect Typhoon Betty to move north or northwest as it slows down. When it reaches the eastern part of Batanes’ coastal waters, it may remain stationary,” Torres said in Filipino.