A super typhoon has made landfall in China’s Guangdong province after wreaking havoc in Hong Kong and Macau and killing potentially more than 50 people in the Philippines.
Packing winds of more than 200km/h, tropical cyclone Mangkhut is considered the strongest to hit the region this year, equivalent to a maximum Category 5 “intense hurricane” in the Atlantic.
That’s more powerful than the maximum sustained winds of 150km/h when Hurricane Florence roared into North Carolina in the US on Friday.
The eye of Mangkhut skirted 100 kilometres south of Hong Kong but the former British colony was still caught in the typhoon’s swirling bands of rain and gale-force winds.
Hong Kong raised its highest No. 10 typhoon signal at mid-morning as ferocious winds uprooted trees and smashed windows in office and residential buildings, some of which swayed in the gusts, residents said.
The plans of tens of thousands of travellers were disrupted by flight cancellations at Hong Kong’s international airport, a major regional hub. Airlines such as flagship carrier Cathay Pacific cancelled many flights last week.
In the Philippines, casualties reported by various agencies on Sunday evening indicate the death toll from the impact of Mangkhut could exceed 50, with most killed in landslides in or near mountainous areas of the Cordillera region.
Francis Tolentino, an adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte and head of the government’s disaster co-ordination, said the latest number of casualties was 33 dead and 56 missing.
But the head of the military’s Northern Luzon Command, Emmanuel Salamat, told Reuters that at least 19 more were killed in landslides in one part of Benguet province.
The 19 who died were part of a bigger group of 43 people, likely miners, and those who were still alive were feared to be trapped in an old mining bunkhouse that had collapsed under rubble, according to Tolentino.
In Macau, which halted casino gambling late on Saturday and put China’s People’s Liberation Army on standby for disaster relief help, some streets were flooded.
The typhoon made landfall in Guangdong’s Haiyan town at 5pm local time, packing winds of more than 160km/h, weather officials said.
Guangdong is the country’s most populous province with a population of 100 million.
Ports, oil refineries and industrial plants in the area have been shut. Power to some areas were also reduced as a precaution. In Shenzhen, electricity supply to more than 130,000 homes was cut at one point on Sunday.
No deaths have been reported so far.
© RAW 2018