TYPHOON Mangkhut has killed at least 28 people as the storm wrecks devastation on the Philippines.
The ferocious typhoon has ravaged the Philippines killing at least 28 people as hundreds of thousands take refuge in temporary shelters, a presidential adviser said.
The storm has seen fierce winds of up to 190mph rip through the northern tip of the country, bringing torrential rain, wrecking homes and triggering at least 42 landslides.
In the Cordillera region on the main island of Luzon there were 20 deaths and four in nearby Nueva Vizcaya province were caused by landslides.
Another death resulted from a treefall in the province of Ilocos Sur.
This comes as Hong Kong and China are braced for the storm to head their way.
Mangkhut entered the Philippines as a super typhoon in the early hours of yesterday morning, and sent fierce winds and heavy rains across the entire main island of Luzon, home to about half the country’s 105 million people.
Known locally as Ompong, Typhoon Mangkhut left the Philippines and moved towards Hong Kong and southern China in the evening.
Hong Kong has already raised its second highest No. 9 typhoon signal, which is expected to be stepped up within hours as fierce waves pound low-lying areas and strong winds rattle windows in many towering skyscrapers.
Some residents have been evacuated from low-lying areas with storm surges of up to 12ft expected.
Tens of thousands of travellers had plans disrupted after Hong Kong’s international airport, a major regional hub, cancelled most flights. Airlines such as its flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, cancelled many flights last week.
Last year, Typhoon Hato, one of the strongest in recent years, pummelled the region, with Macau suffering wide damage and nine deaths, sparking criticism that authorities had not been well prepared.
Macau has been cautious this time, with officials saying it shut casino gambling operations late on Saturday and China’s People’s Liberation Army on standby for any disaster relief assistance.
“The suspension is for the safety of casino employees, visitors to the city, and residents,” the government of the world’s largest gambling hub said in a statement.
China has ordered about 6,000 boats to return to harbour, and evacuated thousands of offshore oil platform workers, the state news agency, Xinhua, said.
The typhoon, or “King of Storms”, as Chinese media have described it, is expected to make landfall in Guangdong somewhere between Zhuhai and Wuchuan in the evening, Chinese weather officials say.
The airport in the boomtown of Shenzhen has been shut since midnight, and will be closed until 8.00 am (Midnight GMT) on Monday. In Guangzhou, scheduled flights between noon on Sunday and 8.00am on Monday have been cancelled.
Mangkhut will keep to a northwesterly track, bringing heavy rain and winds when it enters the autonomous region of Guangxi early on Monday, before weakening into a tropical depression as it arrives in southwestern Yunnan on Tuesday.
In the Philippines, rapid response teams have prepared to join the air force on search and rescue missions as civil defence teams searched areas in Mangkhut’s path.
The storm felled trees and pulled down lines of electricity poles.
Signs were seen hanging off shop fronts, sheet metal roofs peeled off and debris was strewn across urban roads.
There was flooding in several areas and parts of the capital Manila and officials planned to release water from dams, fearing rains could push reservoirs to dangerous levels.
Mangkhut had been a category 5 storm for days since wreaking havoc in U.S. Pacific territories of Micronesia before edging towards the Philippines, where it is the 15th and strongest storm this year.
The typhoon’s peak winds were stronger than those of Hurricane Florence in the United States after it piled into the Carolinas, before it was downgraded to a tropical storm.