Thousands evacuated as Typhoon Mawar approaches the Philippines

(Update 1: changes headline, reledes, adds detail of evacuations)

Manila, May 29 (EFE).- Over 4,800 people have been evacuated in the Philippines as Typhoon Marwar veers toward northern provinces, officials said on Monday.

Although the storm has lost strength in recent days, it is still packing maximum sustained winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 190 kilometers.

According to the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), 4,831 people have been evacuated in the northern provinces of the country.

The Philippine Astronomical, Geophysical and Atmospheric Services Administration (PAGASA) said in a report published at 5:00 pm on Monday that the center of the typhoon was located 470 kilometers east of Cagayan, on the northern tip of Luzon island, and that it was moving northwest at some 10 kilometers per hour.

PAGASA does not expect the typhoon to touch Philippine soil, but to come to a virtual standstill between Tuesday and Wednesday east of the Batanes archipelago, north of Luzon, before regaining momentum and blowing towards Taiwan and Japan’s Ryukyu Islands.

The authority did warn that despite the slowdown, the effects of the typhoon rippled outwards up to 770 kilometers from its center.

Strong winds, tidal surges and heavy rainfall with up to 200 millimeters in some areas should be expected as the typhoon blasts past the Philippines’ northern regions.

The same agency noted on Sunday that Mawar (known in the Philippines as Betty) had been downgraded from super typhoon status as it lost strength.

The provinces that are bracing for the greatest damage have already taken preventive measures with the government of Batanes suspending all classes, while in the most exposed areas of Camarines Norte, in Luzon, schools are closed.

According to the CDP, 30 national and three international flights have been grounded so far.

The cyclone is blowing towards Luzon after tearing through the island of Guam, an unincorporated United States territory in Micronesia on Wednesday, where it left a trail of destruction despite no reports of fatalities or serious injuries. EFE


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