At least two dead in Guangdong after Typhoon Mangkhut hits China

Clay Curtis
September 18, 2018

The storm moved on to China, first striking Hong Kong. The district was one of the most affected by floods from Typhoon Hato, which left 10 people dead. About 291,000 were forced to flee their homes as the storm tore across the island of Luzon, an agricultural area in the archipelago's far north, with winds gusting up to 158 miles per hour, equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. Some roads were cut off by landslides and many remained submerged.

Relatives of the missing were among those taking part in the search for survivors, with little hope they are still alive.

But Itogon mayor Victorio Palangdan struck a somber tone at an afternoon news conference, saying he was "99-percent sure the people there are dead".

Rescuers carry a body they recovered at the site where victims are believed to have been buried by a landslide after Typhoon Mangkhut lashed Itogon, Benguet province, northern Philippines today.

"I was insisting because the storm was strong but he told me not to worry because he said they're safe there", said a weeping Felipe, adding that her husband was last seen chatting with fellow miners in the chapel before it was hit by the collapsing mountainside.

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte arrived in the affected province in Sunday to assess the damage and speak to disaster relief officials.

Parts of Hong Kong and Macau were severely flooded, though there were no immediate reports of fatalities. Reuters reports that the government said the storm destroyed rice and corn crops worth an estimated $177 million.

Roque said the typhoon disrupted living conditions of over 591,000, while devastation was widespread including farm and infrastructure damage worth at least P11 billion.

Groceries flew off the shelves of supermarkets in the provincial capital of Guangzhou as residents stocked up in preparation for being confined at home by the typhoon, China's official Xinhua News Agency said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte second from left attends a command conference on Typhoon Mangkhut locally named Typhoon Ompong at the Nationa
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte second from left attends a command conference on Typhoon Mangkhut locally named Typhoon Ompong at the Nationa

"That was not an authorized evacuation center", Palangdan said, but expressed sadness that the villagers, many of them poor miners, had few options to survive in a region where big corporations have profited immensely from gold mines.

Searchers used shovels and bare hands to dig through mounds of rocky soil in the northern Philippine mountain town of Itogon, where 11 bodies have been pulled from the rubble and dozens more may still be trapped after a landslide buried an emergency shelter.

Typhoon Mangkhut appears to have had the strongest winds in Hong Kong since Typhoon Rose in 1971.

In Hong Kong, crews were clearing fallen trees and other wreckage left from when the financial hub felt the full brunt of the storm on Sunday.

The Hong Kong Observatory reported Mangkhut was the most powerful cyclone to hit the city since 1979, packing maximum sustained gusts of 195 kilometres per hour.

The typhoon was occurring as tropical weather also was devastating the southern U.S. Florence has dumped historical levels of rain on North Carolina. Airlines were expected to resume operations on Monday, but authorities have warned that it would take more than a day to clear the backlog of the some 800 canceled flights.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English.

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