MANGKHUT: Typhoon un­leashes its wrath

Times Colonist - - World -

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 13 peo­ple dead, as Hong Kong and other parts of south­ern China braced for the pow­er­ful storm.

The most fe­ro­cious 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.

China and the Philip­pines agreed to post­pone a visit by Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi that was to start to­day due to the typhoon’s on­slaught, which caused nearly 150 flights, a third of them in­ter­na­tional, to be can­celled and halted sea travel.

Fran­cis To­lentino, an ad­viser to Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, said the most of the vic­tims were in land­slides and houses that got pum­melled by the storm’s fierce winds and rain. Among the fa­tal­i­ties were an in­fant and a two-year-old child who died with their par­ents af­ter the cou­ple re­fused to im­me­di­ately leave 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.

In Ca­gayan’s cap­i­tal, Tugue­garao, a pub­lic mar­ket was se­verely dam­aged, its roof ripped apart and wooden stalls and tar­pau­lin canopies in dis­ar­ray. Out­side a pop­u­lar shop­ping mall, de­bris was scat­tered every­where and gov­ern­ment work­ers cleared roads of fallen trees.

Many stores and houses were dam­aged but most res­i­dents re­mained in­doors as oc­ca­sional gusts sent small pieces of tin sheets and other de­bris fly­ing dan­ger­ously.

The Tugue­garao air­port ter­mi­nal was badly dam­aged, its roof and glass win­dows shat­tered by winds that also sent chairs, ta­bles and pa­pers flipping about in­side, Loren­zana said.The typhoon hit at the start of the rice and corn har­vest­ing season in Ca­gayan.

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