Typhoon sows death and destruction in Philippines
TUGUEGARAO, Philippines — Typhoon Mangkhut lashed the northern Philippines with destructive winds and heavy rain that set off landslides and destroyed homes Saturday, leaving at least 12 people dead, as Hong Kong and other parts of southern China braced for the powerful storm.
The most ferocious typhoon to hit the disasterprone 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.
More than 5 million people were at risk from the storm, which the Hawaiibased Joint Typhoon Warning Center downgraded from a super typhoon. Mangkhut, however, was still punching powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a Category 4 Atlantic hurricane when it hit the Philippines.
China and the Philippines agreed to postpone a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that was to start Sunday due to the typhoon’s onslaught, which caused nearly 150 flights, a third of them international, to be canceled and halted sea travel. Francis Tolentino, an adviser to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, said the 12 died mostly in landslides and houses pummeled by the storm’s fierce winds and rain. Among the fatalities were an infant and a 2-yearold 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 to at least 16 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.
People inspect their damaged property Saturday in Alcala, Philippines, after typhoon Mangkhut made landfall.