Typhoon Mangkhut lashes south China a er killing 36 in Philip­pines

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page -

FOR days now, Su­per Typhoon Om­pong, known in­ter­na­tion­ally as Mangkhut, has been churn­ing across the Pa­cific, keep­ing the mil­lions of peo­ple po­ten­tially in its path on ten­ter­hooks.

The pow­er­ful cy­clone is fore­cast to make land­fall in Ca­gayan on Satur­day morn­ing, prompt­ing Filipinos to brace for the worst. Five years ago, Yolanda (Haiyan), one of the strong­est typhoons ever recorded struck the coun­try and killed more than 6,300 peo­ple.

Mangkhut is fore­cast to slam across vast swathes of farm­land in north­ern Philip­pines, threat­en­ing food sup­ply at a time when the na­tion is al­ready grap­pling with the fastest in­fla­tion in Asia. The storm, which caused flood­ing and power out­ages in the U.S. ter­ri­tory of Guam, is set to sub­se­quently head to Hong Kong, China and Viet­nam. Tai­wan is also at risk of heavy rains.

As many as 41.6 mil­lion peo­ple could be af­fected, the United Na­tion’s Global Dis­as­ter Alert and Co­or­di­na­tion Sys­tem warned on Fri­day. The storm, named af­ter a fruit in Thai­land, is fore­cast by the U.S. mil­i­tary’s Joint Typhoon Warn­ing Cen­ter to pack max­i­mum winds the equiv­a­lent of 173 miles per hour (278 kilo­me­ters per hour) with gusts as strong as 207 miles per hour.

Here’s how this year’s strong­est typhoon could af­fect Asia.

De­struc­tion in the Philip­pines

As many as 824,000 of the 4.3 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in the path of Mangkhut are in dan­ger and may have to be evac­u­ated, Ri­cardo Jalad, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the dis­as­ter man­age­ment agency, said in a con­fer­ence on Thurs­day. Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte and key gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials at­tended the com­mand brief­ing.

The Philip­pine Red Cross es­ti­mates that 10 mil­lion peo­ple, some of whom have been dis­placed in the past, are at risk. An av­er­age of 20 storms pum­mel the ar­chi­pel­ago each year. The deadly typhoon Yolanda in 2013 packed winds as strong as 315 kilo­me­ters per hour. The last time a Cat­e­gory 5 cy­clone threat­ened the Philip­pines was in Oc­to­ber 2016.

Shares in Leisure & Resorts World Corp., which helps reg­u­late on­line gam­ing op­er­a­tions in Ca­gayan prov­ince, fell 4.2 per­cent on Thurs­day. Schools in the cap­i­tal re­gion and many parts of the main is­land of Lu­zon are shut Fri­day.

“There’s a pos­si­bil­ity, al­beit re­mote, that we might be spared,” pres­i­den­tial spokesman Harry Roque said. “But for ev­ery­one, please be ready. Bet­ter to be pre­pared than sorry.”

Food Sup­ply, In­fla­tion

Mangkhut may dam­age as much as P11 bil­lion pe­sos of rice and corn in the Philip­pines, with the storm com­ing just be­fore the start of har­vest, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est es­ti­mate of Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel Pi­nol. Farm­ers were urged to har­vest their crops early.

“Eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity will be im­pacted, but agri­cul­ture and fish­ing would be af­fected even more, hurt­ing sup­ply, and keep­ing the up­side pres­sure on in­fla­tion” in the Philip­pines, said Chidu Narayanan, an econ­o­mist at Stan­dard Char­tered Plc in Sin­ga­pore. “In­fla­tion is likely to re­main el­e­vated,” he said, pro­ject­ing av­er­age con­sumer price gains of 5 per­cent for this year against the cen­tral bank’s tar­get of 2 per­cent to 4 per­cent.

Hong Kong

While the track of Mangkhut re­mains un­cer­tain and it’s fore­cast to weaken af­ter leav­ing the Philip­pines, Hong Kong said it will open 48 tem­po­rary shel­ters for peo­ple in need once it is­sues typhoon sig­nal No. 3. Res­i­dents on some out­ly­ing is­lands have been asked to take pre­cau­tions and move to a safe place.

Trad­ing at the stock ex­change is canceled in the morn­ing if typhoon sig­nal No. 8 or higher is an­nounced af­ter 9 a.m. The mar­ket will re­main shut for the rest of the day if the alert is kept at those lev­els af­ter noon. At ho­tels around the fi­nan­cial cen­ter, guests were warned to stay away from win­dows and to re­main in­doors.

Air Travel, Rac­ing

Cathay Pa­cific Air­ways Ltd. urged pas­sen­gers trav­el­ing Sun­day through Mon­day to or from Hong Kong to re­book their trips, of­fer­ing to waive any charges. Hong Kong Ex­press Air­ways Ltd. and Vir­gin At­lantic Air­ways Ltd. are of­fer­ing sim­i­lar ar­range­ments.

Of­fi­cials of The Hong Kong Jockey Club are as­sess­ing the sit­u­a­tion and will de­cide if a race meet­ing at Sha Tin will pro­ceed.

Philip­pine Air­lines Inc. and Cebu Air Inc. canceled al­most two dozen flights for Fri­day and Satur­day.

China

China’s Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Cen­ter de­scribed Typhoon Mangkhut to pos­sess “strong skills” like a Kungfu mas­ter in its Weibo ac­count and ad­vised the coastal area of Guang­dong prov­ince to take pre­cau­tions.

Photo: EPA

Su­per Typhoon Mangkhut bar­rels in to the Chai Wan Typhoon Shel­ter as a strong storm surge com­bined with high tide causes a se­vere flood­ing of the sur­round­ing streets in Chai, Wan, Hong Kong, China, Septem­ber 16.

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