President Biden declares state of emergency for Guam as super typhoon Mawar (‘rose’) nears with gusts over 186 mph

Amid Mawar's imminent arrival, Guam mobilizes evacuation and safety measures while President Biden activates federal aid.

The island of Guam, a territory of the United States in the Pacific, is preparing for the expected arrival of super typhoon Mawar on Wednesday, which could cause potentially deadly coastal flooding, according to the National Weather Service, ordering the evacuation of the most vulnerable population.

Early Tuesday morning, according to the latest weather report, Mawar was about 225 kilometers off the coast, with winds gusting to around 250 kilometers per hour.

According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), some gusts exceeded 300 km/h.

Typhoon Mawar is forecast to pass near or over Guam and intensify as it approaches,” warned the U.S. weather service, which evoked a “triple threat” for this Category 4 typhoon, including high winds, “torrential rains” and “potentially lethal coastal flooding” for Guam and Rota, another U.S. island in the Mariana Islands archipelago.

U.S. President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for Guam on Tuesday. Photo: CNN Weather
U.S. President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for Guam on Tuesday. Photo: CNN Weather

Faced with this risk of coastal flooding, Guam authorities ordered the evacuation of the population in those areas of the island of nearly 170,000 inhabitants. On Wednesday morning, they asked everyone to “take shelter immediately” in the face of destructive winds of 140 km/h or more expected.

According to a White House statement, U.S. President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for Guam on Tuesday so that federal aid can be provided to the island.

According to A.B. Won Pat International Airport, about 60 flights to and from Guam scheduled between Tuesday and Thursday were canceled.

What does Mawar mean, and what to do in case of a Typhoon?

Mawar, which means “rose” in Malay, formed from favorable atmospheric conditions in the western Pacific Ocean. With sustained winds of over 250 kilometers per hour and even more intense gusts, this super typhoon has become a true force of nature.

The island of Guam, located in the western Pacific, is familiar with the arrival of typhoons and has developed safety and response protocols for such events. When faced with the threat of a super typhoon such as Mawar, it is essential to follow certain guidelines to ensure the safety of people and minimize damage.

First of all, it is important to be attentive to the warnings and alerts issued by the authorities. Pay attention to weather bulletins and follow the instructions given by emergency services and local authorities. These warnings will provide vital information about the typhoon’s path, intensity, and the necessary precautionary measures.

Second, secure your home or place of residence. Reinforce doors and windows with wooden boards or special storm protectors. Remove any loose objects or objects that could become projectiles during high winds. Also, ensure you have enough water, non-perishable food, medicine, and basic supplies to last several days.

Super Typhoon Mawar heading for Guam. Photo: AP.
Super Typhoon Mawar is heading for Guam. Photo: AP.

Third, have an evacuation plan. If you live in an area prone to flooding or landslides, it is important to know where to go in case an evacuation order is issued. Familiarize yourself with local shelters and designated evacuation routes. Keep an emergency kit, including flashlights, batteries, warm clothing, and important documents.

During Super Typhoon Mawar, remain calm and stay in a safe place. Avoid going outdoors and stay away from coastal areas. Strong winds and heavy rains can pose a serious danger to your safety.

After the typhoon passes, be careful when leaving your shelter. Watch for downed wires, damaged structures, and other potential hazards. If necessary, request assistance from local authorities to carry out rescue and recovery efforts.