Manila, Typhoon Mangkhut, a category 5 storm, is fast approaching the Philippines, with authorities on Thursday warning that it could be as devastating as a super typhoon in 2013 which caused over 6,000 deaths.
“The government units are preparing for the worst case scenario,” said Ricardo Jalad, Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).
The authorities have deployed emergency services personnel in Luzon Island, the northernmost region of the country, where Mangkhut is expected to make landfall on Saturday morning, reports Efe news.
The centre of Mangkhut was 725 km from the coast of Luzon on Thursday morning, with sustained winds of 205 km per hour and gusts of 255 km per hour, according to the meteorological agency.
If its sustained winds exceed 220 km per hour, Mangkhut – expected to be the most powerful storm to hit the Philippines this year – will be re-categorised as a super typhoon like Haiyan.
The Red Cross, which has mobilised its emergency equipment in the north of the country, warned that there are about 10 million people living in areas where the typhoon is expected to pass.
The strong winds and torrential rains of Mangkhut are expected to cause floods, landslides and giant waves throughout the island of Luzon, where the country’s main agricultural sites are concentrated.
The Philippines suffers between 15 and 20 typhoons each year during the monsoon season, which started on June 8 this year and will likely end between November and December.