Typhoon leaves trail of havoc

Residents standing amongst debris at Shang Wu fishing port in Taitung county, eastern Taiwan, as Super Typhoon Mangkhut approached waters near southern Taiwan.
Residents standing amongst debris at Shang Wu fishing port in Taitung county, eastern Taiwan, as Super Typhoon Mangkhut approached waters near southern Taiwan.
Image: CNA PHOTO / AFP

Typhoon Mangkhut rocked Hong Kong before striking mainland China on Sunday, injuring scores and sending skyscrapers swaying, after killing at least 49 people in the Philippines and ripping a swathe of destruction through its agricultural heartland.

The world’s biggest storm this year left large expanses in the north of the main Philippine island of Luzon underwater as fierce winds tore trees from the ground and rain unleashed dozens of landslides.

It made landfall on the coast of Jiangmen city, in southern China’s Guangdong province, on Sunday evening after battering Hong Kong.

Hong Kong weather authorities issued their maximum alert for the storm, which hit the city with gusts of more than 230km/h and left more than 100 injured, according to government figures.

As the storm passed south of Hong Kong, trees were snapped in half and roads blocked, while some windows in tower blocks were smashed and skyscrapers swayed, as they are designed to do.

The Philippines was just beginning to count the cost of the typhoon which hit northern Luzon on Saturday, and the death toll jumped to 49 on Sunday evening as more landslide victims were discovered.

In the town of Baggao, the typhoon demolished houses, tore off roofs and downed power lines. Some roads were cut off by landslides and many remained submerged.

Farms across northern Luzon, which produces much of the nation’s rice and corn, were sitting under muddy floodwater, their crops ruined just a month before harvest.

“We’re already poor and then this happened to us. We have lost hope,” Mary Anne Baril, 40, whose corn and rice crops were spoilt, said.

“We have no other means to survive,” she added tearfully.

The victims were mostly people who died in landslides, including a family of four.

Super-typhoon Mangkhut tore across the northern tip of the Philippines on Saturday September 15 2018, wrecking homes and triggering landslides, before slamming into Hong Kong and Macau.

In Taiwan, a woman was swept out to sea.

In Hong Kong, waters surged in the famous Victoria Harbour and coastal fishing villages, from which hundreds of residents were evacuated to storm shelters.

Some roads were waistdeep in water.

Almost all flights in and out of Hong Kong were cancelled.

Schools in the city will be shut on Monday.

In the neighbouring gambling enclave of Macau, all 42 casinos shut down for the first time in its history.

Emergency workers navigated the roads on jetskis and dinghies, rescuing trapped residents.

On China’s southern coast, more than two million people had been evacuated by authorities in Guangdong before the storm made landfall.

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