At least 12 dead as typhoon lashes Philippines

At least 12 dead as typhoon lashes Philippines

The typhoon, with gusts reaching 190mph, knocked out power as it tore across the northern part of Luzon island - an area that is home to about 10 million people, many of whom live in flimsy wooden dwellings.

Poor communities reliant on fishing are some of the most vulnerable to typhoon winds and the storm surges that pound the coast.

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

"If we didn't, all of us would be dead", Abedes said.

Macau has been cautious this time, with officials saying its hut casino gambling operations late on Saturday and China's People's Liberation Army on standby for any disaster relief assistance.

In the US, Hurricane Florence arrived in North Carolina on Thursday, bringing massive floods and hurricane-force winds with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90 miles per hour in what the US National Hurricane Center has warned could be a "catastrophic" situation.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said officials in northeastern Cagayan province, where the typhoon slammed ashore before dawn, were verifying reports that two children had drowned. Authorities are also checking what happened to about 70 men who reportedly returned to their coastal village to check on their homes during the typhoon onslaught.

Mangkhut, the Thai name for Southeast Asia's mangosteen fruit, was expected to skirt 100 km south of Hong Kong and veer west towards the coast of China's southern Guangdong province, and the gaming centre of Macau.

"Representatives from relevant bureaus and departments also reported their preparatory work and contingency plans, particularly on measures in the prevention and handling of flooding, backflow of seawater and emergency plans for high-risk locations", a government statement read.

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More than 4 million people were declared at risk from the storm, and around 87,000 evacuated, with 105,000 are staying in temporary shelters, according to Reuters.

In the Philippines, the storm has stoked fears that it may wreak as much damage as Typhoon Haiyan, which in 2013 devastated a vast swath of the country, killing more than 6,000 people.

Northern Luzon was also devastated in 2016 by Super Typhoon Haima - known as Lawin locally - with 14,000 houses destroyed and 50,000 damaged, according to CNN Philippines.

A scene of damaged crops following the landfall of typhoon Mangkhut on September 15, 2018 in Alcala.

"They say it (typhoon) is so strong, the rains may be more powerful than the monsoon rain, so we are too scared to remain in the house", she added.

A government damage assessment was underway except in areas still being battered by winds and rain. Mangkhut, however, was still punching powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a Category 4 Atlantic hurricane.

Mangkhut could be one of the strongest storms to hit Hong Kong in more than six decades, but the city is well prepared for wild weather and started shutting down, closing shops and suspending travel as Mangkut approached.

Cathay Pacific airline said it expected more than 400 flight cancellations over the next three days.

"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", Ka-chiu said, according to the Associated Press.

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