Saturday, 20 October, 2018


Hong Kong and China on highest storm alert as typhoon approaches

As Florence moves west, North Carolina prepares for recovery WATCH: Hong Kong and China on highest storm alert as typhoon approaches
Conrad Doyle | 17 September, 2018, 11:25

Typhoon Mangkhut wreaked havoc in Hong Kong and parts of the southern coast of China on Sunday (Sept 16), after first causing chaos in the Philippines, killing dozens of people there.

More than 2.4 million people were evacuated from China's southern Guangdong province ahead of the massive typhoon, the strongest to hit the region in almost two decades.

As the long process of recovering from Typhoon Mangkhut began in earnest, Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu called the damage "serious and extensive", and said the number of calls for help, or reports of injury, was as much as five times higher than when Typhoon Hato battered Hong Kong in August a year ago.

Philippine officials are assessing damage and checking on possible casualties as Typhoon Mangkhut pummeled the northern breadbasket with ferocious wind and rain that set off landslides, damaged an airport terminal and ripped off tin roofs.

"Southern regions including the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan will be hit by gales and storms on Sunday and Monday", the National Meteorological Center told China's official Xinhua news agency.

State television showed scenes of crashing waves, innundated streets and trees half-bent by the strong winds as Mangkhut unleashed its power.

The storm skirted past China's semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, where Mangkhut's renewed winds reached 117mph, rattling skyscrapers, toppling trees, and tearing scaffolding from construction sites. All high-speed train services and some normal-speed rail services have been suspended in Guangdong and Hainan provinces.

Hong Kong is at the mercy of devastating typhoon Mangkhut, which has torn through the Philippines, wrecking the island of Luzon, and is now making landfall in Hong Kong. However, there were no reported deaths in Hong Kong, a city well prepared for tropical cyclones.

The typhoon was occurring as tropical weather also was devastating the southern U.S. Florence has dumped historical levels of rain on North Carolina. "Each department must have a sense of crisis, make a comprehensive assessment and plan, and prepare for the worst".

Nearly 900 flights were canceled in Hong Kong on Sunday due to the typhoon, while bus and ferry services as well as express train service to the airport have been suspended, the Hong Kong government said. The city of Shenzhen also canceled all flights between Sunday and early Monday morning.

Casinos in the gambling centre of Macau were shut down and some 20,000 homes were left without power, the South China Morning Post reported.

The government and casinos are took extra precautions after Macau was battered by Typhoon Hato previous year, which left 12 dead.

Water levels surged 3.5 m in some places, waves swamped roads and washed up live fish, washing into some residential blocks and a mall in an eastern district.

The hardest-hit province was Benguet, where 38 people died, mostly in two landslides, and 37 remain missing. But the airport authorities later said flights will operate overnight today to clear the backlog.

It has already left about 60 people dead in the Philippines when it passed through the day before.

After tearing through Luzon and pummelling Hong Kong and Macau, the storm made landfall in mainland China late Sunday, with two reported dead in Guangdong province.

However, while the death toll is likely to rise, some relief was expressed Saturday that the storm didn't appear to have caused as much destruction as other recent, less powerful storms.

Some 2.5 million people were pre-emptively evacuated from the area.

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