Typhoon Mangkhut pounds China after killing 64, burying dozens in Philippines

17 Sep 2018


Super Typhoon Mangkhut that struck the Philippines on Saturday killed at least 64 people, the national police said on Sunday, mostly due to landslides and collapsed houses, while two additional deaths reported in China as the typhoon crossed over to China.

Landslides caused by the pounding storm hit two villages in Itogon town in the Philippine mountain province of Benguet. Police Superintendent Pelita Tacio said 34 villagers had died and 36 were missing.
Hundreds of houses have been destroyed and at least 36 people are feared buried under thick mud after Super Typhoon Mangkhut triggered a massive landslide in the country's north.
Rescue workers have been working to retrieve survivors in the mining town of Itogon, in Benguet, where at least 35 people have died, many of whom are thought to be miners and their families.
"As of now, we are still looking for the 36 still missing individuals that are still unverified," CNN quoted Lt Gen Emmanuel Salamat of the Philippines Armed Forces as saying on Monday.
Many of the victims were believed to have sought refuge in a church during the typhoon.
"They were advised to move out because that is a hazardous area during typhoons, it might kill them and it really happened," said Salamat.
Mohammed Abdiker, director of operations and emergencies for the UN Migration Agency, says as many as 50 people could have been buried. Drone images from the scene provided by the agency showed a scar on the mountain where mud appears to have wiped out homes.
Dozens of people from the mining town of Itogon are missing, believed buried by a landslide.
Tuguegarao, home to more than 140,000 people, was directly hit by Typhoon Mangkhut, which made landfall in the province of Cagayan on Saturday morning at 1.40am, packing winds of up to 205 kmph.
The typhoon, which has left a trail of damage across the nation’s bread basket in the northern Philippines, crossed over to China, where more than 2.4 million people have been evacuated in the southern province of Guangdong by Sunday evening, state media said. 
“Prepare for the worst,” Hong Kong security minister John Lee Ka-chiu urged residents.
Mangkhut also felled trees, tore scaffolding off buildings under construction and flooded some areas of Hong Kong with waist-high waters, according to the South China Morning Post.
Casinos on Macau were ordered closed for the first time due to the typhoon. A red alert, the most severe warning, was issued for densely populated southern China, which the national meteorological center said would face a “severe test caused by wind and rain.”
Flights over the weekend and into Monday were cancelled in Hong Kong and the mainland cities of Shenzhen, Haikou, Sanya, Guangzhou and Zhuhai. All high-speed and some normal rail services in Guangdong and Hainan provinces were also halted, the China Railway Guangzhou Group Co. said.
Landslides caused by the pounding storm hit two villages in Itogon town in the Philippine mountain province of Benguet. Police Superintendent Pelita Tacio said 34 villagers had died and 36 were missing.
Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan told The Associated Press by phone that at the height of the typhoon’s onslaught Saturday afternoon, dozens of people, mostly miners and their families, rushed into an old three-story building in the village of Ucab.
The building a former mining bunkhouse that had been transformed into a chapel was obliterated when part of a mountain slope collapsed. Three villagers who managed to escape told authorities what happened.
“They thought they were really safe there,” the mayor said Sunday. He expressed sadness that the villagers, many of them poor, had few options to survive in a region where big corporations have profited immensely from gold mines.
The rescue work halted for the night before resuming on Monday morning. Men used pikes and shovels to dig into the mud since the soaked ground was unstable and limited the use of heavy equipment on site.
The typhoon was occurring as tropical weather also was devastating the southern U.S. Florence has dumped historical levels of rain on North Carolina.
Mangkhut made landfall in the Guangdong city of Taishan at 5 p.m. on Sunday, packing wind speeds of 162 kilometers (100 miles) per hour. State television broadcaster CGTN reported that surging waves flooded a seaside hotel in the city of Shenzhen.
The storm shattered glass windows on commercial skyscrapers in Hong Kong, sending sheets of paper pouring out of the buildings, fluttering and spiraling as they headed for the debris-strewn ground, according to videos on social media.

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