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Full alert as massive super-storm nears Philippines

15 September 2018

Typhoon Mangkhut is on course to hit north-eastern Cagayan province early on Saturday.

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 storm pummeled the northern Philippine island of Luzon with ferocious wind and rain that set off landslides, damaged an airport terminal and ripped off tin roofs.

Storm warnings remained in effect in 10 northern provinces, including Cagayan, which could still be lashed by devastating winds, forecasters said. NPR's Jason Beaubien wrote of his experience covering typhoon Haiyan from the Philippines, and the devastation the storm wrought there, "The municipal water wasn't working".

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.

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
Full alert as massive super-storm nears Philippines

The storm has seen fierce winds of up to 190 miles per hour rip through the northern tip of the country, bringing torrential rain, wrecking homes and triggering at least 42 landslides.

Mangkhut led Taiwan to announce a series of rain, wind, and wave warnings on September 15, and the typhoon is expected to hit China between Hong Kong and Hainan late tomorrow afternoon.

With a rain cloud band 560 miles wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, there are fears the typhoon could trigger landslides and flash floods.

The typhoon is approaching at the start of the rice and corn harvesting season in Cagayan, a major agricultural producer, and farmers were scrambling to save what they could of their crops. According to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, the damage may reduce the country's rice supply and result in losses of up to 7.9 billion Philippine pesos ($146.2 million).

A Strong Wind Signal No. 3 is in force in Hong Kong on Saturday evening, but the weather is expected to deteriorate rapidly at around midnight, warned the Hong Kong Observatory.

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In nearby Fujian province in China, 51,000 people were evacuated from fishing boats and around 11,000 vessels returned to port on Saturday morning. Fujian province to the north of Guangdong is also closing beaches and tourist sites, the agency reported.

Among the dead were an infant and a 2-year-old child who died with their parents after the couple refused to immediately evacuate from their high-risk community in a mountain town in Nueva Vizcaya province, Tolentino said.

Duterte asked Cabinet officials from the north to help oversee disaster-response work if needed, and told reporters it was too early to consider seeking foreign aid.

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".

"As it gets dark and the weather worsens, even though we have coaches to help transfer [residents], the situation would not be ideal", she said.

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Super Typhoon Mangkhut smashed through the Philippines on Saturday, as the biggest storm to hit the region this year claimed the lives of its first victims and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes.

Disaster authorities have yet to complete damage assessments from Mangkhut, the 15th and most powerful storm to hit the Philippines this year, which had maximum gusts of 305 kph (190 mph), and was expected to clear land after 10:00 a.m. on its way towards southern China and Vietnam.

The fear of Mangkhut is remembered by the Philippians in the form of Typhoon Haiyan, which had caused enormous damage in 2013 causing the death of more than 6,000.

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Full alert as massive super-storm nears Philippines