Ty­phoon tracks to­ward China af­ter killing 28 in Philip­pines

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - WORLD - By Aaron Fav­ila and Joeal Calupi­tan Aaron Fav­ila and Joeal Calupi­tan is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

TUGUEGARAO, Philip­pines — Ty­phoon Mangkhut lashed the north­ern Philip­pines with de­struc­tive winds and heavy rain that set off land­slides and de­stroyed homes Satur­day, killing at least 28 peo­ple, as Hong Kong and other parts of south­ern China braced for the storm.

The strong­est storm so far this year in the world sliced across the north­ern 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. More than 5 mil­lion peo­ple were in the path of the ty­phoon, equiv­a­lent to a Cat­e­gory 5 At­lantic hur­ri­cane when it hit the Philip­pines. Early Sun­day, it packed sus­tained winds of 96 mph and gusts of up to 118 mph.

The Hong Kong Ob­ser­va­tory said although Mangkhut had weak­ened slightly, it was bring­ing heavy rains. Storm surge of about 9.8 feet or more was ex­pected at the city’s water­front.

Fran­cis To­lentino, an ad­viser to Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, said the vic­tims died mostly in land­slides and houses that were pum­meled by the storm. Among the fa­tal­i­ties were an in­fant and a 2-year-old child who died with their par­ents af­ter the cou­ple re­fused to im­me­di­ately evac­u­ate from their high-risk com­mu­nity in a moun­tain town in Nueva Viz­caya province, To­lentino said.

“They can’t de­cide for them­selves where to go,” he said of the chil­dren, ex­press­ing frus­tra­tion that the tragedy was not pre­vented.

To­lentino, who was as­signed by Duterte to help co­or­di­nate disas­ter re­sponse, said at least two other peo­ple were miss­ing. He said the death toll could climb once other ca­su­alty re­ports were ver­i­fied.

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

Mangkhut’s sus­tained winds weak­ened to 105 mph with gusts of up to 161 mph af­ter it sliced north­west­ward across Lu­zon be­fore blow­ing out to the South China Sea, aim­ing at Hong Kong and else­where in south­ern China.

About 87,000 peo­ple had evac­u­ated from high-risk ar­eas of the Philip­pines. To­lentino and other of­fi­cials ad­vised them not to re­turn home un­til the lin­ger­ing dan­ger had passed.

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

The ty­phoon struck at the start of the rice and corn har­vest­ing sea­son in Ca­gayan, a ma­jor agri­cul­tural pro­ducer, prompt­ing farm­ers to scram­ble to save what they could of their crops, Ca­gayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said.

In Hong Kong, Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter John Lee Ka-chiu urged res­i­dents to pre­pare for the worst as the storm bar­reled to­ward the city. China is­sued an alert say­ing Mangkhut would make land­fall some­where on the coast in Guang­dong province by Sun­day evening.

AFP / Getty Im­age photos

Philip­pine sol­diers as­sist a fam­ily car­ry­ing its sick child af­ter an am­bu­lance was blocked by de­bris in Ca­gayan province.

Res­i­dents of Zhan­jiang in China’s Guang­dong province stock up on food and sup­plies at a mar­ket ahead of the storm.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.