Storm tears into Philippines

A strong typhoon tore across the northern tip of the Philippines on Saturday, killing at least three people, wrecking homes and triggering landslides before heading towards Hong Kong and southern China by evening.

By Reuters in Manila
  • Published 16.09.18
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A father carries his sick child (third from left) during a transfer to another car after their ambulance got stuck on a highway after Typhoon Mangkhut hit Baggao town, north of Manila, on Saturday. (AFP)

Manila: A strong typhoon tore across the northern tip of the Philippines on Saturday, killing at least three people, wrecking homes and triggering landslides before heading towards Hong Kong and southern China by evening.

Mangkhut entered the Philippines as a super typhoon in the early hours and ripped over the main island of Luzon with winds of more than 200 kmph and torrential rains.

Known locally as Ompong, Typhoon Mangkhut at one point hit gusts of 305kmph before it left the Philippines and moved across the South China Sea with reduced wind speeds.

Hong Kong was braced for Mangkhut, with authorities expected to raise the second strongest typhoon signal between 1500 and 1800 GMT.

The Philippine disaster agency said two rescue workers died while trying to free people trapped in a landslide in the mountainous Cordillera region, while police said a body had been found in a river in Manila.

Mauricio Domogan, mayor of the city of Baguio, said three persons were killed in landslides and six were missing. It was not clear if the three dead included the rescue workers.

"They didn't expect it would happen, that's why they didn't evacuate. Unfortunately it happened," he told DZMM radio.

State weather agency PAGASA downgraded its threat level, but warned the danger was far from over, with storm surges and heavy rains that had caused flooding and dozens of landslides across Luzon, home to about half the Philippines' 105 million people.

"We are asking the people to remain alert and continue taking precautions," said meteorologist Rene Paciente.

Rapid response teams were prepared to join the air force on search and rescue missions as civil defence teams scoured areas in the path of Mangkhut, which felled trees and pulled down lines of electricity poles.