Philippines braces for Typhoon Molave

MANILA (XINHUA) – Local officials are keeping an eye on areas prone to flooding and landslide in the Bicol region, south of Manila in the Philippines, where Typhoon Molave made landfall early last night.

In its 5pm bulletin yesterday, the state weather bureau PAGASA said Typhoon Molave, packing 130 kilometres per hour winds and gusts of up to 160 kilometres, was spotted 70 kilometres east northeast of Legazpi City in Albay province.

The bureau said Molave, which intensified into a typhoon at 2pm yesterday, is forecast to continue moving westward until its landfall in Tabaco City in Albay province.

The typhoon will barrel through the southern Luzon, south of Manila, until the afternoon today, before heading to the South China Sea, the bureau said.

Landslides and flash floods are not uncommon across the Philippines during the rainy season, especially when typhoon hits.

The government urged residents of coastal villages in the central Philippines, Bicol Region, and central and southern Quezon province to move to safer grounds due to the possibility of storm surge.

Rough to very rough seas will prevail over many parts of the Luzon island, the bureau said.

Molave is the 17th typhoon to barrel through the Philippines this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Typhoon Saudel, which barrelled through the Philippines last week, also triggered flooding and displaced over 20,000 people. It also damaged crops and roads, the government said.

About 20 typhoons and tropical storms batter the Philippines each year. The country of 110 million people has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.