Thursday, 13 December, 2018

At least three dead as Super Typhoon Mangkhut hits Philippines and Taiwan

TyphoonPhilippines Typhoon Mangkhut Thursday morning
Jeannette Daniel | 15 September, 2018, 17:27

To be more alert when the storm surge does come in, especially for the low-lying or coastal areas of the Philippines, because at the time [of typhoon Haiyan] some people were not that educated about the storm surge.

The Philippines is routinely hit during the typhoon season.

As per the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) about 5.2 million people in 125 km radius will be exposed to Mangkhut.

The ferocious typhoon has ravaged the Philippines killing at least 12 people as hundreds of thousands take refuge in temporary shelters.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut - the biggest storm of the year - smashed through the Philippines on Saturday, claiming its first victims as two women were killed when a rain-drench hillside collapsed on them and another drowned in Taiwan.

The storm, with gusts reaching 160mph, knocked out power as it tore across the northern part of Luzon island - an area which is home to around 10 million people, many of whom live in flimsy wooden homes.

A government damage assessment was underway except in areas still being battered by winds and rain. Cars shook as gusts pummeled a parking lot.

Forecasters said early Saturday that the typhoon made landfall in the coastal town of Baggao in Cagayan province almost two hours after midnight in the northern tip of the main Luzon island. They said the fast-moving typhoon has gained speed as it moves northwestward at 19 miles per hour.

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.

More news: High-definition video from space shows the extreme power of Hurricane Florence

In Cagayan's capital city of Tuguegarao, residents braced for the typhoon's fury by reinforcing homes and buildings and stocking up on food.

The Observatory said people should stay away from the shoreline, and not to engage in water sports.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said he expected widespread damage to crops and infrastructure in his province and said help would be needed to rebuild. "But we are accepting worldwide assistance based on the needs of the various agencies", Yulo said.

Poor communities reliant on fishing are some of the most vulnerable to typhoon winds and the storm surge that pounds the coast. The threat to agriculture comes as the Philippines tries to cope with rice shortages. It is predicted to hit China late on Sunday or early Monday. In Hong Kong, preparations were under way Friday, though the storm was not expected to hit until Sunday.

Guangdong, China's manufacturing hub, has set up 3,777 shelters, while more than 100,000 residents and tourists have been moved to safety or sent home. The outer rainbands of Mangkhut are also edging closer to the coast of Guangdong. "He is from there, and that's where the typhoon is hitting now. and he said they have to harvest their rice two weeks earlier, before the grain is ripe enough. His clear and concise marching order was 'Save lives, save lives, '" said Francis Tolentino, the government's disaster response coordinator and adviser to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

When asked by reporters if the government is willing to seek assistance from the global community, Duterte said: "It would depend on the severity of the crisis".

"Yes, there are offers of global assistance from Australia and Japan right now, but we're still waiting for the assessment if there will be a widescale need for worldwide assistance", said Edward Yulo of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

"It felt like the end of the world. that was stronger than Lawin", said Bebeth Saquing, 64, using the local name for Super Typhoon Haima, which was one of the most powerful storms of 2016.

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