Bracing for Super Typhoon Lawin
Typhoon Lawin, also known as Haima, strengthened into super typhoon status on Wednesday afternoon, October 19.
Lawin has already reached a maximum wind speed of 225 kilometers per hour near its center and gusts of wind of up to 315 kilometers per hour.
People from Cagayan and Isabela are expected to face the brunt of its force, having signal number 5 in the area.
At 1PM on Wednesday, authorities from Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) monitored the eye of the typhoon to be located at 300 km. east of Casiguran, Aurora.
According to a Severe Weather Bulletin that was issued by the PAG-ASA at 2PM, super typhoon Lawin is projected to landfall and bring heavy rains to Cagayan and Isabela by late Wednesday night to Thursday morning.
The super typhoon is also estimated to pass by Apayao and Ilocos Norte by Thursday, and will be out of the Philippine area of responsibility on Friday.
To address the anticipated landfall of super typhoon Lawin, the local governments units in Cagayan and Ilocos Norte already started the forced evacuation program for people residing near Cagayan river.
Ilocos Norte’s Tourism Office has also ordered the temporary closure of tourist areas and facilities, and issued an advisory to residents to stay indoors.
Provinces in the Northern Luzon area have also started their preparations in order to address any emergency that Lawin may bring.
In Baguio, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) has been on high alert since Tuesday, and its disaster response personnel has similarly been on standby.
Have we learned from Yolanda?
It seems that we have.
Back in 2013, Yolanda, also internationally known as Haiyan, had a maximum wind speed of 285 kilometers per hour.
It was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded in the Philippines. It was responsible for over 10,000 deaths, and affected an estimated number 11 million people in the country alone.
In contrast to the government initiatives undertaken in preparation for Yolanda, local government units facing Lawin are now more vigilant in securing residents in the affected areas through forced evacuations.
PAG-ASA advisories are also being closely monitored now more than before, and is given ample consideration in deciding what steps are to be taken next in addressing the typhoon disaster.
This is oddly in contrast to the fact that authorities responding to the emergency in Leyte for Yolanda did not have a representative from PAG-ASA, and did not even bother to call or contact PAG-ASA when they were planning disaster response measures.
As a result of the disorganized response to Yolanda, the government measures were employed too late, and super typhoon had already claimed thousands of lives.
Earlier this year, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which was in charge of distribution of relief goods during Yolanda, issued new guidelines in its food stock management to make sure that the relief goods actually reach affected areas instead of being spoiled.
The national government under President Rodrigo Duterte has also expressed support for initiatives that aim to have zero casualties in times of disasters, such as super typhoons and earthquakes.