Philippines death toll rises as Typhoon Mangkhut barrels towards China

Source Supplied

Source Supplied

The Philippines is no stranger to severe weather - it sees an average of 20 typhoons and storms each year.

TUGUEGARAO, Philippines Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into the country's northeastern coast early Saturday, with witnesses saying the storm's ferocious wind and blinding rain ripped off tin roof sheets and knocked out power at the start of the onslaught.

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).

Thousands of people evacuated high-risk areas following major flooding and landslide warnings.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut - the biggest storm of the year - smashed through the Philippines on Saturday, claiming its first victims as two women were killed when a rain-drench hillside collapsed on them and another drowned in Taiwan.

The typhoon made landfall before dawn in the coastal town of Baggao in Cagayan province on the northern tip of Luzon island, an agricultural region of flood-prone rice plains and mountain provinces often hit by landslides.

Mangkhut's winds weakened to 170 kilometers (105 miles) per hour after it blew across Luzon Island toward the South China Sea, aiming at southern China and Hong Kong, where residents braced for the worst.

The super typhoon is 885 kilometers wide with maximum sustained winds up to 274 kilometers per hour.

Typhoon Mangkhut will make another landfall on Sunday night in western Guangdong, China. All high-speed and some normal rail services in Guangdong and Hainan provinces were also halted Sunday, the China Railway Guangzhou Group Co. said.

Saving lives was paramount and it was too soon to know the extent of Mangkhut's devastation, said Francis Tolentino, an adviser to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and disaster response coordinator.

Nearly all buildings in the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan's provincial capital, sustained damage, a government official said.

"Representatives from relevant bureaus and departments also reported their preparatory work and contingency plans, particularly on measures in the prevention and handling of flooding, backflow of seawater and emergency plans for high-risk locations", a government statement read.

Edit: Updated at 5.54pm to include source of information on typhoon Mangkhut's death toll in the Philippines.

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.

Forecasters have called Super Typhoon Mangkhut the strongest storm so far this year.

Three people have already died as one of the strongest typhoons in the history of the Philippines makes landfall.

Communication is cut from many areas and high winds are preventing responders, meaning it's too early for a full assessment of damage.

According to the Hong Kong Airport Authority, 889 flights have been cancelled on Sunday because of the storm.

The country's deadliest on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013. Hainan Airlines canceled 234 flights in the cities of Haikou, Sanya, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai scheduled this weekend.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.