Hong Kong raises typhoon alert as Mangkhut approaches

16 September, 2018, 14:10 | Author: Carlos George
  • Super Typhoon Mangkhut threatens China

Formerly classified as a super typhoon, Mangkhut is known as Ompong in the Philippines - as NPR's global correspondent Julie McCarthy reports, the government gives it a "Filipino cast" to engage the public.

More than 5 million people were threatened by the storm in the Philippines, where about 87,000 were evacuated from high-risk areas.

The strongest storm in the world this year has arrived in southern China and densely-populated Hong Kong, bringing heavy winds and rains that caused landslides on the northern tip of Luzon island on Saturday.

Tolentino says that at least two other people are missing and that the death toll could climb to 16 once other casualty reports are verified.

Power and communications were down in parts of northern Luzon, where some residents in high-risk areas chose to ride out the storm to protect homes from looters.

Sagud-Bahley, San Fabian in Pangasinan after Typhoon Mangkhut, known locally as Ompong, hit the Philippines, in this still image taken from a September 15, 2018 video from the Philippine Red Cross.

Hong Kong authorities lifted the storm alert to its highest level on Sunday as typhoon Mangkhut was fast approaching, bringing the city to a standstill as residents prepared for the threat of heavy rain, storm surges and flooding.

Moreover, Mangkhut will further gain strength in the open waters of South China Sea and become a Cat 4 Typhoon.

The typhoon recalls memories of the deadliest storm on record in the Philippines - Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 - which killed more than 7,000.

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Mangkhut is still strong as it heads west toward southern China, with current sustained wind speeds of 145km/h.

Its tropical storm-force winds extended 550 miles across, according to the country's weather agency, making it almost double the size of Florence, the hurricane-turned-tropical storm that made landfall over the southeastern United States on Friday.

In the Manila suburban city of Pasig, the body of a teenage girl was recovered from under a bridge in the swollen Marikina River, police said.

The typhoon struck at the start of the rice and corn harvesting season in the northern breadbasket, prompting farmers to scramble to save what they could of their crops, Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said.

In Cagayan's capital, Tuguegarao, where the typhoon hit land, Associated Press journalists saw a severely damaged public market, its roof ripped apart and wooden stalls and tarpaulin canopies in disarray. With destructive winds and blinding rains ripping off the tin roof of a building and toppling over this gas station. By 2 p.m., the typhoon, which was downgraded from a super typhoon to a severe typhoon, was centered about 62 miles south of Hong Kong and is expected to move westward toward mainland China. Tens of thousands more have been evacuated from China's Guangdong province, CNN reported.

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.

Mr Ka-chiu added: "Each department must have a sense of crisis, make a comprehensive assessment and plan, and prepare for the worst". Airlines such as flagship carrier Cathay Pacific canceled many flights last week.

The government and casinos are taking extra precautions after Macau was battered by Typhoon Hato past year, which left 12 dead.

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