Millions at risk as Super Typhoon Mangkhut threatens Philippines and Hong Kong

Millions at risk as Super Typhoon Mangkhut threatens Philippines and Hong Kong

Mangkhut, classified by the Hong Kong Observatory as a super typhoon, is now forecast to pack maximum winds of 250 kilometers (155 miles) per hour by Friday before gradually weakening.

However, since the diameter of the typhoon measures at 900km wide, it is expected to affect and bring torrential rains and strong winds to the northern and most parts of Central Luzon.

The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System said in total up to 43.3 million people could be affected by the storm in the Philippines and southern China.

The storm's current path has it passing through the Luzon Strait between the Philippines and southern Taiwan, before continuing on to Hong Kong and Macau.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. encouraged passengers travelling this weekend to and from Hong Kong to re-book and the airline will waive the fees.

According to Hong Kong Observatory, Mangkhut will enter the South China Sea on Saturday.

A woman, accompanied by her young family members, writes the name of a loved one on a cross at a mass graveyard for victims of typhoon Haiyan during All-Saints' Day in Tacloban City, Leyte province, central Philippines on November 1, 2015.

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A missile test aboard a navy ship to be attended by president Rodrigo Duterte off northern Bataan province was cancelled due to the approaching typhoon. In the province of Benguet and Kalinga, at least 136 people have been evacuated, according to the civil defence office.

It is moving westward at the speed of 20kph.

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.

The South-east Asian nation is preparing stand-by funds, food, supplies and rescue ahead of Mangkhut's worst impact in the next two days.

The storm, which is the strongest to hit the Philippines this year, is also threatening farmlands in Luzon just before the rice and corn harvest.

The storm may cause as much as 13.5 billion pesos in damage to crops, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol wrote on his Facebook account Tuesday.

It said that Mangkhut packed maximum sustained winds of up to 185 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 220 kph.

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