BANGKOK (AlertNet) – The Philippines is bracing for a typhoon that is expected to hit the country’s southern resource-rich Mindanao island early on Tuesday.
The government is ordering pre-emptive evacuations and aid agencies are preparing to respond as typhoon Bopha, known locally as Pablo, approaches.
The typhoon is expected to bring high winds and heavy rains when it reaches the country’s eastern border. It was designated a “super typhoon” on Saturday but has since weakened slightly.
The Philippine Star reported that additional policemen have been dispatched to some provinces to convince residents who continue to refuse to leave their homes, despite orders to evacuate in areas of Mindanao that are expected to be hit by the typhoon.
“All these areas where pre-emptive evacuations were conducted are all facing the Pacific Ocean,” Blanchie Gobenciong, the director of Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Caraga Province, told the newspaper.
Anna Lindenfors from Save the Children’s office in the nation’s capital Manila said Mindanao had experienced heavy winds and rain over the last 24 hours.
“Save the Children is monitoring the situation closely,” she added in a statement.
The storm was expected to leave the country via the West Philippine Sea by Thursday.
Northern Mindanao was hit by Tropical Storm Washi in December 2011, which was said to be one of the country’s worst natural disasters in two decades.
It killed more than 1200 people, destroyed more than 10,000 houses and displaced more than 300,000 people.
An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year.