Powerful typhoon kills 12 in Philippines, heads toward southern China
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.