Philippines braces for typhoon Bopha

Manila, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) The Philippine government has set aside 42 million pesos (1.02 million U.S. dollars) as standby fund for areas that may be hit by typhoon Bopha (local name Pablo), a senior government official said Monday.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said the amount will be used for relief goods which will be distributed to affected residents.

Valte also said President Benigno Aquino III has called for a meeting in the presidential palace to discuss further preparations for the typhoon.

“The president has given instructions for agencies to submit an inventory of danger areas to be affected by the typhoon,” she said.

Classes in public schools have already been suspended in several provinces in central and southern Philippines as authorities prepare for massive evacuation.

As of 12:00 noon Monday, typhoon Pablo was located at 490 southeast of the town of Hinatuan in the southern Philippine province of Surigao del Sur.

The state weather bureau said the typhoon packs maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometer per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 210 kph.

The government said 33 provinces in central and southern Philippines will be affected by the storm.

Typhoon Bopha, the 16th storm to enter the Philippines this year, would make a landfall in the southern Philippine province of Surigao del Sur. The storm is feared to be worse than typhoon Washi (local name Sendong) which caused massive destruction in Mindanao in December 2011.