Zamora: Metro Manila readies for Typhoon Betty; 423 low-lying areas being monitored
MANILA, Philippines — San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora on Monday said that local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila are ready to brace for the impact of Typhoon Betty (international name: Mawar) as they monitor over 400 identified low-lying areas across the region.
Zamora, who is also president of the Metro Manila Council, said the region is preparing for the typhoon’s enhancement of southwest monsoon or “habagat,” projected to bring 24-hour prolonged rain measured up to 50 millimeters in the next few days, even though Betty might not directly affect the region.
“Since Wednesday last week, we have been preparing already; in fact here in San Juan, I have called for the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office meeting, and of course, at the regional level here in Metro Manila, we have done the same,” the mayor said in an interview with ANC.
“[A total of] 423 low-lying barangays in Metro Manila that have been identified by the MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) and MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) might be affected, and this has been communicated to the mayors as early as Friday,” he added.
According to Zamora, local government executives have prepared pumping stations across the region and coordinated with the MMDA to monitor these stations, especially in low-lying areas.
“The pumping stations across Metro Manila and the low-lying cities are already prepared. We have prepositioned our food packs; we have set up our evacuation centers,” he added.
Zamora also assured the public that all LGUs had prepared rescue boats, vehicles, emergency equipment, and pumping stations.
Based on his experience in San Juan City, Zamora explained small waterways and improper garbage disposal usually caused flooding in the area.
“The waterways are too small already. It cannot handle the water that goes through the drainages, meaning you need to upgrade the drainage system, or we have to use bigger culverts to accommodate the flow of the water and the trash that we often see in the waterways,” he explained.
Zamora advised locals to maintain discipline and observe proper waste disposal to alleviate the effects of bad weather conditions, and he also suggested other cities install more pumping stations.
For nationwide preparation, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) earlier said 1,679 teams from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) are on standby for search, rescue, and retrieval operations.
It added that the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) has a P256.2-million 2023 Quick Response Fund and the Department of Social Welfare and Development has P2.2 billion worth of stockpile and standby funds to aid communities affected by the typhoon.
Moreover, OCD’s central and regional offices also have P108.2 million worth of non-food items ready for distribution to assist typhoon-hit communities, the NDRRMC said.
According to Pagasa, Betty was last located 525 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan. It maintained its strength with maximum sustained winds of 155 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center with gustiness of up to 190 kph.
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