Pow­er­ful typhoon lashes Philip­pines, killing at least 12

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

Typhoon Mangkhut lashed the northern Philip­pines with de­struc­tive winds and heavy rain that set off land­slides and de­stroyed homes on Satur­day, leav­ing at least 12 peo­ple dead and six miss­ing, as south­ern China braced for the pow­er­ful storm.

The strong­est typhoon to hit the dis­as­ter-prone Philip­pines this year slammed ashore be­fore dawn in Ca­gayan prov­ince on the north­east­ern tip of Lu­zon is­land, a bread­bas­ket that is also a re­gion of flood-prone rice plains and moun­tain prov­inces with a his­tory of deadly land­slides, AP re­ported.

At least three peo­ple died and six oth­ers were miss­ing in the moun­tain city of Baguio af­ter fe­ro­cious winds and rain de­stroyed sev­eral houses and set off land­slides, which also blocked roads to the pop­u­lar va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion, said the city’s mayor, Mauri­cio Do­mo­gan.

Au­thor­i­ties were ver­i­fy­ing the drown­ings of three peo­ple, in­clud­ing two chil­dren. They also were check­ing to see what hap­pened to about 70 men who re­port­edly re­turned to their coastal vil­lage in Ca­gayan to check on their homes as the typhoon drew closer Fri­day, spark­ing con­cerns over pos­si­ble storm surges.

Mangkhut’s sus­tained winds weak­ened to 170 kilo­me­ters (105 miles) per hour with gusts of up to 260 kph (161 mph) af­ter it sliced north­west­ward across Lu­zon then blew out to the South China Sea, aim­ing at south­ern China and Hong Kong, where res­i­dents braced for the worst.

With the weather eas­ing, of­fi­cials warned there was lin­ger­ing dan­ger.

“It’s still a life and death situation,” De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana said by phone, cit­ing past drown­ings in swollen rivers in moun­tain prov­inces af­ter storms had passed.

Storm warn­ings re­mained in ef­fect in 10 northern prov­inces, in­clud­ing Ca­gayan, which could still be lashed by dev­as­tat­ing winds, fore­cast­ers said. Thou­sands of peo­ple in the typhoon’s path had been evac­u­ated.

The Tugue­garao air­port ter­mi­nal was badly dam­aged, its roof and glass win­dows shat­tered by strong winds that also sent chairs, ta­bles and pa­pers flip­ping about in­side, Loren­zana said.

A gov­ern­ment dam­age as­sess­ment was un­der­way ex­cept in ar­eas still be­ing bat­tered by winds and rain. Two air force C-130 cargo planes and 10 heli­copters were on standby in Manila to help trans­port res­cuers and aid sup­plies.

More than 5 mil­lion peo­ple were at risk from the storm, which the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warn­ing Cen­ter down­graded from a su­per typhoon. Mangkhut, how­ever, was still punch­ing pow­er­ful winds and gusts equiv­a­lent to a Cat­e­gory 4 At­lantic hur­ri­cane.

In nearby Fu­jian Prov­ince in China, 51,000 peo­ple were evac­u­ated from fish­ing boats and around 11,000 ves­sels re­turned to port on Satur­day morn­ing.

China’s Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Cen­ter is­sued an alert say­ing Mangkhut would make land­fall some­where on the coast in Guang­dong prov­ince on Sun­day af­ter­noon or evening.

Mangkhut, the Thai word for man­gos­teen fruit, is the 15th storm this year to bat­ter the Philip­pines, which is hit by about 20 a year and is con­sid­ered one of the world’s most dis­as­ter-prone coun­tries.

In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 peo­ple dead or miss­ing, flat­tened vil­lages, swept ships in­land and dis­placed more than 5 mil­lion in the cen­tral Philip­pines.

AP

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