MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has raised a red alert status as tropical storm “Lawin” moves closer to the country.
NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said the red alert status was hoisted Friday morning in preparation for the storm, which may make landfall over the weekend.
“This is to ensure that we are prepared, that we can immediately respond, and our resources are in place," Ramos said.
Ramos also said the agency is coordinating with its regional offices "to undertake precautionary measures in their respective areas of responsibility and subsequently advised local DRRMCs to initiate preemptive evacuation of families in low-lying and mountainous areas if situation warrants."
Office of Civil Defense operations officer Edgardo Olet, meanwhile, said response centers have been put in place for the incoming storm.
"We declared red alert this morning so that response agencies at the operation center and assets are prepositioned. We are prepositioning assets for possible landfall. We are expecting damages if it makes a landfall,” he said.
The storm was last spotted 560 km east of Catarman, northern Samar and packing maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph.
PAGASA forecaster Aldczar Aurelio earlier said if the storm maintains its direction, it will make landfall in the Bicol region or eastern Visayas.
The weather bureau, however, noted that the storm is still far to directly affect any part of the country.
Storm signal number 1 has been raised in eastern Samar.