Warnings as Mangkhut lands in China, HK
Typhoon Mangkhut barrelled into southern China last night after lashing the northern Philippines with strong winds and heavy rain that left at least 36 people dead and dozens more feared buried in a landslide.
Ahead of the huge typhoon, nearly half a million people had been evacuated from seven cities in China’s Guangdong province, the gambling enclave of Macau closed casinos for the first time and the Hong Kong Observatory warned people to avoid the Victoria Harbour landmark, where storm surges battered the sand bag reinforced waterfront. Mangkhut made landfall in the city of Taishan, Guangdong province, packing wind speeds of 162km/h. State broadcaster CGTN said surging waves flooded a seaside hotel in the city of Shenzhen.
Southern China authorities had issued a red alert, the most severe, as the national meteorological center said the densely populated region would face a “severe test caused by wind and rain” and urged officials to prepare for possible disasters.
The Hong Kong Observatory said although Mangkhut had weakened slightly, its extensive, intense rainbands were bringing heavy downfall and frequent squalls.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled. All high-speed and some normal rail services in Guangdong and Hainan provinces were also halted, the China Railway Guangzhou Group said.
Hong Kong Security Minister John Lee Ka-chiu urged residents to prepare for the worst.
In Macau’s inner harbour district last night the water level reached 1.5m and was expected to rise further.
In Fujian province and other parts of southern China, tens of thousands of fishing boats returned to port and construction work came to a stop.
In the northern Philippines, at least 40 people, mostly gold miners, are feared to have been trapped in a landslide in a mountain town that was pummelled by the typhoon.
Police said dozens of rescuers have dug out at least seven bodies from the huge mound of mud and rocks in Itogon, in Benguet province.
A part of the mountainside collapsed on the miners’ bunkhouses at the height of the onslaught.