‘Super typhoon’ nears Hong Kong and China after pummeling Philippines

Clay Curtis
September 16, 2018

Thousands of people had evacuated the area before the storm's landfall.

Roughly four million people - a quarter of whom live on a few dollars a day - were in the path of destruction that the storm slashed through the northern tip of Luzon island, leaving at least eight dead.

The Philippines military is sending two C-130 airplanes and 10 helicopters to Cagayan province for typhoon relief and rescue efforts, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Saturday, according to Philippine News Agency (PNA).

There have so far been no immediate reports of major damages or casualties in the region, where a massive evacuation from high-risk areas has been under way for the last two days.

As the powerful storm left the Southeast Asian archipelago and barreled toward Hong Kong and southern China, search teams in the Philippines began surveying the provinces that were hit directly.

There are warnings that typhoon Mangkhut could result in storm surges of as much as 23 feet in the landfall region, suggesting significant coastal damage to communities in its path.

Mangkhut was packing sustained winds of 170 kilometres (105 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 260 km per hour as it left the Philippines. The country was battered by sustained winds that reached 96 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 118 miles per hour, according to the Associated Press.

A man walks as high waves hit the shore at Heng Fa Chuen, a residental district near the waterfront, as Typhoon Mangkhut slams Hong Kong on September 16. "His clear and concise marching order was 'Save lives, save lives, '" said Francis Tolentino, the government's disaster response coordinator and adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in his home city of Davao in the south.

In the northern town of Baggao, the storm collapsed houses, tore off roofs and downed power lines.

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"The rains will be strong and the winds are no joke".

Mangkhut ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees, blocked roads with debris and dumped water on fields of crops that farmers weren't able to harvest ahead of the storm.

Based on current projections, Hong Kong and Macau will potentially bear the worst of Mangkhut, which could be one of the strongest storms to hit Hong Kong in over six decades.

In nearby Fujian province in China, 51,000 people were evacuated from fishing boats and around 11,000 vessels returned to port on Saturday morning.

Storms lose strength when they cross land and it's possible Mangkhut, after hitting the Philippines, won't be able to recover.

People jog at the waterfront in Hong Kong's Central district before typhoon Mangkhut approaches Hong Kong. Mangkhut's intense rainbands are affecting Hong Kong, bringing frequent squalls and heavy rain.

It is heading towards Hong Kong, where Security Minister John Lee Ka-chiu warned residents it would be bringing "winds and rains of extraordinary speeds, scope and severity". Nearly 1 million people are living in coastal areas, or have homes made of light materials, along the storm's path, Edgar Posadas, spokesman of the disaster-monitoring agency, earlier said.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut is then expected to make landfall on the heavily populated coast of Guangdong province in southern China, potentially displacing tens of millions of people.

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific said all Sunday flights would be grounded.

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