Pow­er­ful typhoon kills 12 in Philip­pines, heads to­ward south­ern China

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD - BY AARON FAVILA AND JOEAL CALUPITAN

TUGUE­GARAO, PHILIP­PINES — 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, as Hong Kong and other parts of south­ern China braced for the storm.

The most fe­ro­cious typhoon to hit the Philip­pines this year slammed ashore be­fore dawn in Ca­gayan prov­ince on the north­east­ern tip of Lu­zon is­land. More than 5 mil­lion peo­ple were at risk from the storm, which the Hawai­ibased Joint Typhoon Warn­ing Cen­ter down­graded to the equiv­a­lent of a Cat­e­gory 4 At­lantic hur­ri­cane when it reached the Philip­pines. Mangkhut’s sus­tained winds weak­ened to 105 miles per hour with gusts of up to 161 mph af­ter it sliced north­west­ward across Lu­zon.

Fran­cis To­lentino, an ad­viser to Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, said the 12 vic­tims died mostly in land­slides and houses that were pum­meled by fierce winds and rain. Among the fa­tal­i­ties were an in­fant and a 2-yearold who died with their par­ents af­ter the cou­ple did not im­me­di­ately leave their high-risk com­mu­nity in a moun­tain town in Nueva Viz­caya prov­ince, To­lentino said.

About 87,000 peo­ple evac­u­ated from high-risk ar­eas of the Philip­pines. Of­fi­cials ad­vised them not to re­turn home un­til the lin­ger­ing dan­ger had passed. “It’s still a life­and-death sit­u­a­tion,” De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana said by phone.

Storm warn­ings re­mained in ef­fect in 10 north­ern prov­inces, in­clud­ing Ca­gayan, which could still be lashed by dev­as­tat­ing winds, fore­cast­ers said. 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, 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 Chi­nese coastal me­trop­o­lis. In nearby Fu­jian prov­ince, 51,000 peo­ple were evac­u­ated from fish­ing boats, and about 11,000 ves­sels re­turned to port on Satur­day morn­ing.

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

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