Dozens dead in Philippines, now Typhoon Mangkhut pummels China


After leaving a trail of destruction through the Philippines, Typhoon Mangkhut was battering China on Sunday, with Hong Kong and Macau bearing the brunt of its force.

Hong Kong authorities issued their highest storm signal, No. 10, despite the typhoon weakening slightly as it moved across the South China Sea.

Freelance reporter James Ross told DW that "furiously-high winds, torrential rain, and storm surges are hitting all the coastal areas" of Hong Kong.

He said the territory had already seen major flooding in low-lying areas, roads and highways blocked by fallen trees and debris, and damage to buildings with windows smashed by the winds.

Worst in many years

"This seems like the worst typhoon I've experienced in 15 years here," Ross added.

The South China Morning Post tweeted videos showing the intensity of the winds as they hit the city and nearby Lantau Island.

Matt Bossons, Editor-in-Chief at the @thatsshenzhen website, tweeted a video of his Shenzhen hotel being flooded by coastal waters.

Hong Kong international airport canceled most flights on Sunday, leaving tens of thousands of travelers stranded.

Macau, meanwhile, shut all 42 casinos as the territory braced for a bad hit. Authorities there faced criticism last year, when Typhoon Hato left nine people dead and caused widespread damage.

Elsewhere in China, tens of thousands of people were being evacuated to safer areas, amid predictions of severe storm surges along the coast.

Read more: The world's deadliest hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones

On Saturday, at least 28 people were killed as the typhoon tore through the Philippines' northern Luzon island, leaving floods and landslides in its wake.

Mangkhut made landfall over the town of Baggao, 382 kilometers (237 miles) north of Manila, lashing Cagayan province and nearby areas with maximum winds of 205 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 285 km/h – the equivalent to a Category 5 "intense hurricane" in the Atlantic.

Deadline landslides

Philippine authorities said most of the dead got caught up in landslides in mountainous areas.

The heavy rains and fierce winds knocked out electricity and communication lines, while thousands of homes and business premises were torn down.

"The landslides happened as some residents returned to their homes after the typhoon," disaster response coordinator Francis Tolentino told DZMM Radio, adding that 5.7 million people had been affected.

Read more: Philippine's Duterte orders opposition senator be arrested

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte conducted an ariel inspection of the worst affected region on Sunday.

The Philippines, which is hit by about 20 typhoons a year, is considered one of the world's most disaster-prone countries. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing.

mm/jm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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