MANGKHUT: Typhoon unleashes its wrath
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.