Typhoon lashes China after killing 64 in Philippines

Katie Ramirez
September 17, 2018

Typhoon Mangkhut left a trail of destruction and injuries in Hong Kong as it barrelled towards mainland China after ripping through the Philippines.

Mangkhut, the Thai name for Southeast Asia's mangosteen fruit, was expected to skirt 100 km (62 miles) south of Hong Kong and veer west toward the coast of China's southern Guangdong province, and the gaming center of Macau.

The Philippines was just beginning to count the cost of the typhoon which hit northern Luzon on Saturday, and the death toll jumped to 49 on Sunday evening as more landslide victims were discovered.

Along the coast, the gambling enclave of Macau closed all its casinos, and all fishing boats from China's Guangdong province were called into port.

Yaonan Li, a resident in downtown Zhuhai, some 15 minutes outside Macau, told NPR the government was nervous about the typhoon but had learned its lesson from a typhoon past year.

Landslides caused by the pounding storm hit two villages in Itogon town in the Philippine mountain province of Benguet.

Most of the fatalities were caused by landslides and collapsed buildings.

Although the typhoon has now passed over the Philippines, police said that 45 people, mostly gold miners - are still missing and feared to have been trapped or killed by the landslides.

The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) raised the storm signal to T10 Sunday morning local time, closing shops and suspending transport as residents were warned to stay inside and well away from the water's edge.

Electricity to 7,000 customers were disrupted in several districts across the city, according to power utility CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd.

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled at Hong Kong International Airport and all high-speed rail services were also halted. On Saturday, grocery stores were packed with people stocking up on goods. Buildings across the city were either boarded up or had their windows taped in order to mitigate the damage of broken glass.

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Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous agreed, telling Muir, "I see a biblical proportion flood event that's going to occur". In Washington , North Carolina, the wind-swept Pamlico River has risen beyond its banks and is flooding entire neighborhoods.

Parts of Hong Kong and Macau were severely flooded, though there were no immediate reports of any fatalities.

The typhoon, dubbed the "King of Storms" by Chinese media, is expected to make landfall in Guangdong between the cities of Taishan and Yangjiang as early as 5 p.m. Sunday, weather officials say.

Tuguegarao airport in northern Luzon, a vital transportation hub, was damaged in the storm, forcing the cancellation of more than 100 local and worldwide flights, according to the Department of Transportation.

Hainan Airlines Co (海南航空) canceled 234 flights in the cities of Haikou, Sanya, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai scheduled this weekend.

Tropical cyclone Mangkhut is considered the strongest to hit the region this year, packing gale force winds of more than 200 kph, equivalent to a maximum Category 5 "intense hurricane" in the Atlantic.

The monumental task of cleaning up the city began as residents, some in suits and ties, struggled to get back to work on roads that remained blocked by felled trees, mud and debris.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte will head to the region Sunday to see the damage and recovery operations, presidential Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told CNN. The storm was also due to hit the regions of Guizhou, Chongqing and Yunnan on Monday.

Some residents have been evacuated from low-lying areas with storm surges of up to 3.5 m (12 ft) expected.

Though the storm system has moved on, extent of the damage has been hard to asses Sunday as fierce winds were replaced by flood waters, blocking access and aid to affected areas. A vital transportation hub in the region, Tuguegarao airport in northern Luzon, was damaged in the storms, according to the Department of Transportation, forcing the cancellation of more than 100 local and worldwide flights.

Typhoon Mangkhut has made landfall in southern China's Guangdong province, bringing torrential rains and winds of 162 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour).

From there the system will continue to move westward and will rain itself out over northern Vietnam, which could lead to some flooding there early next week.

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