The world’s strongest storm this year, Typhoon Mangkhut, continued its path of destruction across Southeast Asia over the weekend reaching mainland China on Sunday afternoon killing dozens in the Philippines.
According to government officials, the storm has carved a deadly trail across the region, killing two people in southern China and at least 54 people in the Philippines. Many of the Philippines’ deaths were caused by landslides, with dozens more still believed to be buried beneath the deluge.
More than 2.45 million people have been evacuated in China’s Guangdong province as Mangkhut made landfall at 5 p.m. local time. Xinhua reported that 18,327 emergency shelters had been activated and that 632 tourism and construction sites had been shut down.
As Mangkhut marched toward the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong was also buffeted by fierce winds that tore off roofs, downed trees and caused cranes perched atop half-built skyscrapers to swing ominously. Hong Kong’s weather observatory issued its highest storm warning alert. A signal T10 and the normally bustling city was all shut down as transport was suspended and torrential rain flooded roads and buildings.
Winds of 173 kilometers per hour (107 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 223 kph (138 mph) were reported, stronger than Hurricane Florence that hit North Carolina over the weekend. There were no reported deaths in Hong Kong, a city well prepared for tropical cyclones.
The storm made landfall over China’s Guangdong Province, one of China’s most populous provinces, at 5 p.m. local time, killing two people, according to state media CCTV. More than 100,000 people have reportedly been evacuated from the area and 3,777 shelters set up.
According to Chinese state media, all airports in Shenzhen, a technology hub across the border from Hong Kong, and on the resort island of Hainan also canceled all flights. Mangkhut is now expected to move inland to western Guangdong. While the storm has weakened, a T8 warning was still in place into Sunday evening — meaning that winds with speeds of about 63 kph were expected.
The Philippines remains the worst hit, with more than 250,000 people affected by the storm across the country and around half of those seeking shelter in evacuation centers in the country’s north. When Mangkhut made landfall in the Philippines Saturday morning at 1:40 a.m. local time, the storm was already packing winds of up to 270 kph (165 mph).
While the death toll is currently 54, with 32 people injured and 42 more missing, this is likely to rise in the coming days as rescue teams work to locate 36 people. They are believed to be buried beneath landslides in the Cordillera Administrative Region, in the north of Luzon island.
As of Saturday, the storm had caused 51 landslides in the north of the Philippines. The most severe damage came in Luzon’s north, a populated region that’s considered the breadbasket of the Philippines, although areas as far away as Manila more than 340 km (200 miles) from the eye of the storm. They were hit with heavy rains that caused flooding in urban areas.
The country is no stranger to tropical cyclones, in fact, more than 6,000 people died when Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines five years ago, this is the worst in a generation. That storm displaced nearly 4 million people.
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