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Typhoon Mangkhut leaves 28 dead in Philippines

Typhoon Mangkhut has left at least 28 people dead after carving out a path of destruction across the northern Philippines.

The strongest storm in the world this year has now arrived in southern China and densely populated Hong Kong, bringing heavy winds and rains that caused landslides on the northern tip of Luzon island on Saturday.

Houses collapsed as more than five million people found themselves in the path of the deadly typhoon.

Francis Tolentino, an adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, said most of the fatalities were killed in landslides in mountainous areas.

Mangkhut levelled structures in the Philippines over the weekend
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Mangkhut levelled structures in the Philippines over the weekend
Government workers clear a partially damaged road after Typhoon Mangkhut hit the main island of Luzon, Philippines

Twenty deaths in the Cordillera region on the main Philippines island of Luzon and four in nearby Nueva Vizcaya province were caused by landslides.

Mr Tolentino said another death resulted from a tree falling in the Luzon province of Ilocos Sur.

Three more deaths have been reported in northeastern Cagayan province, where the typhoon made landfall.

Among the 28 fatalities were a toddler and a two-year-old child who died with their parents.

The couple had refused to immediately evacuate from their high-risk community in a mountain town in Nueva Vizcaya province.

Philippines Red Cross teams have been clearing debris from the road
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Philippines Red Cross teams have been clearing debris from the road
Houses destroyed at the height of Typhoon Mangkhut at a village in Gattaran town, in Cagayan province, Philippines
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Houses have been destroyed

Mr Tolentino added that reports from other areas of northern Luzon, hit by the typhoon on Saturday, were still flowing in.

Mangkhut, with gusts reaching 190mph, had the equivalent-strength of a category 5 Atlantic hurricane when it made landfall on the Philippines on Saturday.

About 87,000 people had evacuated from high-risk areas of the Philippines.

They were advised not to return home until the lingering danger had passed.

The typhoon has caused destruction on the northern tip of Luzon island
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The typhoon has caused destruction on the northern tip of Luzon island

China and the Philippines agreed to postpone a visit by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi that was to start on Sunday due to the typhoon’s onslaught.

The storm caused nearly 150 flights, a third of them international, to be cancelled and sea travel to be halted.

The Hong Kong Observatory said that although Mangkhut had weakened slightly, its extensive, intense rain bands were bringing heavy downfall and frequent squalls.

A woman runs in Shenzen as Typhoon Mangkhut arrives in China
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A woman runs in Shenzen as Typhoon Mangkhut arrives in China

A storm surge of about 9.8 feet or above is expected at the city’s waterfront Victoria Harbour, the observatory said, appealing on the public to avoid the shoreline.

Hong Kong’s security minister John Lee Ka-chiu urged residents to prepare for the worst.

He said: “Because Mangkhut will bring winds and rains of extraordinary speeds, scope and severity, our preparation and response efforts will be greater than in the past.”

The typhoon hit the Heng Fa area of Hong Kong early on Sunday
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The typhoon hit the Heng Fa area of Hong Kong early on Sunday

Floods at Heng Fa Chuen, Hong Kong, during the approach of super Typhoon Mangkhut from the Philippines on September 16, 2018

Mr Ka-chiu added: “Each department must have a sense of crisis, make a comprehensive assessment and plan, and prepare for the worst.”

In nearby Fujian province in China, 51,000 people were evacuated from fishing boats and around 11,000 vessels returned to port on Saturday morning.

The government in the Chinese region of Macau has shut down all of the areas 42 casinos in anticipation of the storm.

Mangkhut, the Thai word for mangosteen fruit, is the 15th storm this year to batter the Philippines, which is hit by about 20 a year and is considered one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

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