Friday, 21 September, 2018

Super Typhoon Mangkhut slams into Philippines

Super Typhoon Mangkhut threatens China Full alert as massive super-storm nears Philippines
Pablo Mccormick | 15 September, 2018, 17:25

Thousands of people had evacuated the area before the storm's landfall.

Posadas said an estimated 5.2 million people are in the path of Mangkhut, with 983,100 considered to be below poverty line or most vulnerable to the effects of the typhoon.

Strong winds and rain batter a town in Cagayan Province, as typhoon Mangkhut hits the Philippines.

More than 5 million people were at risk from the storm, which the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center downgraded from a super typhoon.

"The rains will be strong and the winds are no joke".

At daybreak in Cagayan's capital, Tuguegarao, Associated Press journalists saw a severely damaged public market, its roof ripped apart and wooden stalls and tarpaulin canopies in disarray. Cars shook as gusts pummeled a parking lot. Storm warnings have been raised in nearly all the provinces across the main northern island of Luzon, including the capital, Manila, restricting sea and air travel. They said the fast-moving typhoon has gained speed as it moves northwestward at 19 miles per hour.

Relief workers wade through flood waters to rescue stranded people in Brgy. Sagud-Bahley San Fabian in Pangasinan after Typhoon Mangkhut known locally as Ompong hit the Philippines in this still image taken from
Super Typhoon Mangkhut claims first victims

Government forecaster Rene Paciente said that even if the typhoon weakened slightly after slamming ashore, its winds would remain very destructive.

Those who live in the typhoon's projected path and can not flee have been reinforcing their homes and stocking up on food.

Authorities in the Philippines have said they were better prepared for the storm than in previous years.

A super typhoon wrought heavy damage to Banez's hotel and the rest of Cagayan in 2016.

Mangkhutis expected to cause widespread damage to infrastructure, agriculture and livelihoods within its 900-kilometer diameter, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said in a statement Friday.

Thousands of evacuees have taken refuge in emergency shelters.

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The Philippines is still haunted by the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people in central areas of the country in 2013, most due to huge storm surges.

"We are expecting the weather to improve, except for some portions that will have some intermittent rainfall, particularly the western sections of the country", Cayanan said, speaking Filipino.

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. Officials said other northern provinces started evacuating residents from high-risk areas, including in northern mountain provinces prone to landslides.

China and the Philippines agreed to postpone a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that was to start Sunday due to the onslaught, which caused almost 150 flights, a third of them global, to be canceled and halted sea travel.

It packed powerful gusts of up to 255 kilometers (160 miles) per hour and sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour while heading west across the disaster-prone archipelago towards China.

In Hong Kong, Security Minister John Lee Ka-chiu urged residents to prepare for the worst as the storm barreled toward the southern Chinese city.

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However, the Hong Kong Observatory warned that the massive typhoon will pose a "severe threat" to China's southern coast before moving on to northern Vietnam.

Storm warnings have been issued in 39 provinces and sea and air travel has been restricted. Local government units, the AFP, the Philippine National Police, and the Philippine Coast Guard have since been placed on alert to respond to the typhoon.

"It's still a life and death situation", he said.

When asked by reporters if the government is willing to seek assistance from the worldwide community, Duterte said: "It would depend on the severity of the crisis". 'If it flattens everything, maybe we need to have some help'.

The Philippines endures about 20 typhoons and storms...

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