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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 October 2018

Typhoon Mangkhut makes landfall in China as Philippines death toll spikes

The 'King of Storms' left a trail of destruction in Hong Kong and Macau

A building stands with shattered windows during a No. 10 Hurricane Signal raised for Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong, China, on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. Bloomberg
A building stands with shattered windows during a No. 10 Hurricane Signal raised for Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong, China, on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. Bloomberg

Typhoon Mangkhut, the world's biggest storm this year, slammed into mainland China late Sunday, forcing the evacuation of millions of people after killing dozens in the Philippines and injuring hundreds as it moved through a battered Hong Kong.

The super typhoon left at least 64 people dead in the Philippines and dozens more feared dead in a landslide. It felled trees and sent skyscrapers swaying in high-rise Hong Kong, injuring more than 200 people there before making landfall on the coast of Jiangmen city, in southern China's Guangdong province.

Provincial authorities said they evacuated a total of 2.37 million people and ordered tens of thousands of fishing boats back to port before the arrival of what Chinese media has dubbed the "King of Storms".

Mangkhut left large expanses in the north of the main Philippine island of Luzon underwater as fierce winds tore trees from the ground and rain unleashed dozens of landslides.

Hong Kong weather authorities issued their maximum alert for the storm, which hit the city with gusts of more than 230 kilometres per hour (142 mph) and left 213 people injured, according to government figures.

As the storm passed south of Hong Kong, trees were snapped in half and roads blocked, while some windows in tower blocks were smashed and skyscrapers swayed, as they are designed to do in intense gales.

The Philippines was just beginning to count the cost of the typhoon which hit northern Luzon on Saturday. The death toll jumped to 59 on Sunday evening, police said, as more landslide victims were discovered.

Authorities said they would continue efforts in the morning to dig out a group of roughly two dozen miners who are feared dead after their bunkhouse was hit by a landslide near the northern city of Baguio.

Abigail Arce watches a video sent by a friend of her family back home, who have been caught up in Typhoon Mangkhut. Reem Mohammed/The National
Abigail Arce watches a video sent by a friend of her family back home, who have been caught up in Typhoon Mangkhut. Reem Mohammed/The National

In the UAE, worried Filipino expatriates have been left in limbo after being unable to contact their families back home as Typhoon Mangkhut leaves behind a deadly trail of destruction in the country.

Expatriates have been hit by a communications blackout after the super typhoon tore through the infrastructure of the nation, leaving them with an anxious wait for news.

Zarina Dalati, a Filipino expatriate who works in Dubai, has family living in the north of the Philippines, which has been affected by the natural disaster.

“The lines are disconnected and I haven’t been able to reach my family," Ms Dalati told The National.

"My parents were in the north of Philippines but they are in Manila now. The typhoon was there and I can see pictures but not reach them on the phone.”

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Read more:

Cathay cancels 400 flights as super typhoon nears Hong Kong

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An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people.

The latest victims were mostly people who died in landslides, including a family of four. In addition to those killed in the Philippines, a woman was swept out to sea in Taiwan.

In Hong Kong, waters surged in the famous Victoria Harbour and coastal fishing villages, from which hundreds of residents were evacuated to storm shelters.

Some roads were waist-deep in water with parts of the city cut off by floods and fallen trees.

In the fishing village of Tai O, where many people live in stilt houses built over the sea, some desperately tried to bail out their inundated homes.

The government warned people to stay indoors but some ventured out, heading to the coast to take photos.

Almost all flights in and out of Hong Kong were cancelled. Schools in the city will be shut Monday.

In the neighbouring gambling enclave of Macau, all 42 casinos shut down for the first time in its history.

As the storm moved past Macau to the south, streets became submerged under water gushing in from the harbour.

Emergency workers navigated the roads on jet-skis and dinghies, rescuing trapped residents.

The government and casinos are taking extra precautions after Macau was battered by Typhoon Hato last year, which left 12 dead.