Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Hong Kong raises typhoon alert to highest level as Mangkhut closes in

Hong Kong raises typhoon alert to highest level as Mangkhut closes in

Philippine authorities said at least 25 people were killed, including a baby and a toddler, a lot of them in landslides in mountainous areas that left at least 13 missing.

In all, almost 37 million people are estimated to be in Mangkhut's path. GDACS estimates that the typhoon will have a "high humanitarian impact" based on the high wind speeds and the exposed population located in vulnerable areas.

The system is hovering some 280 miles, or 450 kilometers, from the Philippines. Macau suffered catastrophic flooding during Typhoon Hato past year, leading to accusations of corruption and incompetence at its meteorological office.

Residents stand by a flooded road following the onslaught of Typhoon Mangkhut in Tuguegarao city in Cagayan province, northeastern Philippines, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

Some 14 people have been killed in a massive storm which brought destruction to the northern Philippines, a presidential adviser says. "It has been raining nonstop". The Red Cross predicted before Mangkhut's landfall that it will destroy 1 million tons of rice.

"It was not so severe as we expected it to be because earlier it was noted it would also be strong", said President Rodrigo Duterte, following an aerial survey of some affected areas.

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Two rescuers were killed trying to help people trapped in a landslide.

At least 36 people, including the eight miners retrieved in Itogon, have died in typhoon-related incidents in the Philippines, mostly from landslides and collapsed houses.

Historically, typhoons of this magnitude generate hundreds, sometimes thousands of deaths.

The country's deadliest storm on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013. Officials were anxious that Mangkhut could be just as catastrophic. The densely populated city turned into a ghost town as residents shut themselves indoors after emptying the shelves of supermarkets.

'We are going to evacuate more'.

Officials have repeatedly warned that storm surges of up to six meters are likely in the coastal areas of Cagayan, Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte, as well as Ilocos Sur when the eye of Ompong is over Batanes. Police were deployed near the impact zone to prevent looting, and armed forces prepared to take the lead on search and rescues. More than 5 million people were in the path of the typhoon, equivalent to a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane when it hit the Philippines.

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President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, which frees up the way for federal aid. Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it is unclear how many did.

"The poor connection. Internet is in and out and I cant seem been able to get a good connection so it is a concern", Ortega-Anderson said. "If these schools or communities don't have enough capacity to immediately fix their school infrastructure or replace the teaching and learning materials, surely the typhoon will cause a long-term impact to children's access to education".

Mangkhut continues to move steadily towards the coast of western Guangdong, edging further closer to Hong Kong with a high threat.

High waves hit the shore at Heng Fa Chuen, a residental district near the waterfront, as Typhoon Mangkhut slams Hong Kong, China September 16, 2018.

Along the coast, the gambling enclave of Macau, which was hit hard by Super Typhoon Hato last August, closed all its casinos, and all fishing boats from China's Guangdong province have been called into port.

More than 15,000 people had been evacuated in northern provinces by Friday afternoon, the Office of Civil Defence said.

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Additionally, Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in August and Hurricane Irma struck Florida in September, leaving FEMA stretched thin. Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or Friday, potentially as a Category 4 storm.

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