The death toll from Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines has reached 28, a police director said Sunday, attributing the count mostly to landslides in the nation’s northern provinces that were triggered by the storm.
Police Director General Oscar Albayalde told the Associated Press that 20 people had died in the Cordillera region, four in Nueva Vizcaya province and another outside of the two regions, as the typhoon battered the rice-growing and mountain area Saturday.
Three more deaths have been reported in northeastern Cagayan province, where the typhoon made landfall.
On Sunday morning, Mangkhut was barreling toward densely populated southern China and Hong Kong, where authorities raised the highest storm warnings and moved nearly a half-million people to shelter from seven cities.
Presidential adviser Francis Tolentino said about 87,000 people had been evacuated from high-risk areas and advised not to return home until the danger has passed.
Mangkhut pummeled the country Saturday with ferocious winds and rain that also damaged an airport terminal and ripped off tin roofs.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said three people died and six others were missing in his mountain city of Baguio after several houses were destroyed. Landslides in the area blocked roads to the popular vacation destination, hindering emergency response efforts.
Authorities also were were verifying the drownings of three people, including two children who reportedly died as the typhoon approached.
Mangkhut’s winds weakened to 105 mph after the storm blew across Luzon island toward the South China Sea, aiming at southern China and Hong Kong, where residents braced for the worst.
Earlier Saturday, Philippine officials were assessing damage and checking on possible casualties.
Authorities also were checking what happened to about 70 men who reportedly returned to their coastal village to check on their homes during the typhoon onslaught.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.