Manila: Typhoon Mangkhut that killed at least 25 people in the Philippines smashing homes and leaving behind torrents of floodwater, and is now on course to plough into China’s coast.
Considered this year’s strongest storm, Mangkhut left key agricultural areas on Luzon island underwater as its fierce winds uprooted trees and heavy rains caused dozens of landslides.
Officials are still assessing the human and material cost, as communications and electricity were knocked out across a large region with about five million people in the typhoon’s direct path.
In the northern town of Baggao, the storm collapsed houses, tore off roofs and downed power lines. Some roads were cut off by landslides and many remained submerged.
The Luzon farms which produce a large portion of the nation’s rice and corn, were flooded with water ruining the crops just a month ahead of harvest. More than 105,000 people fled their homes in the largely rural region.
The dead included many killed in landslides, a girl who drowned and a security guard crushed by a falling wall. In addition to the 10 killed in the Philippines, a woman was swept out to sea in Taiwan.
The country’s deadliest storm on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013.
‘High threat’ to Hong Kong
Typhoon Mangkhut has weakened since blasting into the Philippine coast on Saturday, but was packing sustained winds of 175 kilometres per hour as it hurtled toward China’s heavily populated southern coast.
Rain and strong winds lashed Hong Kong on Sunday morning as the storm approached.
The city’s observatory warned that Mangkhut would pass 100 kilometres south of Hong Kong at around midday (0400 GMT) local time as it raised the storm alert to its highest level.
Government warns people to stay indoors
The government has warned people to stay indoors but some were strolling in the park or along the waterfront Sunday morning.
Some residents reported their buildings were swaying in the wind and parks were already strewn with broken branches by the early morning.
Almost all flights in and out of Hong Kong have been cancelled.
In the neighbouring gambling enclave of Macau, all 42 casinos shut late on Saturday night and businesses were shuttered the following morning, some boarded up and protected by piles of sandbags.
The government and casinos are taking extra precautions after Macau was battered by Typhoon Hato last year, which left 12 dead.
(With inputs from AFP)