Severe typhoon hits Hong Kong, Southern China after taking at least 30 lives in the Philippines


Typhoon Mangkhut rocked Hong Kong en route to mainland China on Sunday, lashing its coastline and sending skyscrapers swaying, after killing at least 49 people in the Philippines and ripping a swathe of destruction through its agricultural heartland.
The world's biggest storm this year left large expanses in the north of the Philippines' main island of Luzon underwater as fierce winds tore trees from the ground and rains unleashed dozens of landslides.
The number of people killed jumped to 49 on Sunday, police said, as more landslide victims were discovered. Police spokesman Benigno Durana released updated figures showing the number of dead had risen from the previously reported toll of 30.
In Hong Kong, weather authorities issued their maximum alert for the storm, which rocked the city with violent gusts that have reportedly reached 145 miles per hour.
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 some skyscrapers swayed, as they are designed to do in intense gales.
The Philippines was just beginning to count the cost of the typhoon after it smashed into northern Luzon on Saturday.
In the town of Baggao, the storm demolished houses, tore off roofs and downed power lines. Some roads were cut off by landslides and many remained submerged.
Farms across northern Luzon, which produces a large portion of the nation's rice and corn, were sitting under muddy floodwaters, their crops ruined just a month before harvest.
"We're already poor and then this happened to us. We have lost hope," 40-year-old Mary Anne Baril, whose corn and rice crops were spoiled, told AFP.
"We have no other means to survive," she said tearfully.
Nearly five million people, almost a quarter of whom live on just a few dollars per day, live in the storm's path.

 'High threat' to Hong Kong 

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 the 30 killed in the Philippines, a woman was swept out to sea in Taiwan.
Typhoon Mangkhut destroyed homes in Alcala as it brought death and destruction to the Philippines 
Typhoon Mangkhut destroyed homes in Alcala as it brought death and destruction to the Philippines CREDIT: JES AZNAR/GETTY IMAGES
The country's deadliest storm on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013.
In Hong Kong's famous Victoria Harbour and fishing villages, water levels could surge by up to four meters, authorities said earlier. Hundreds of residents were evacuated to storm shelters as the observatory forecast severe flooding for low-lying areas.
Shop windows were taped up and the normally traffic-clogged streets were deserted.
The government warned people to stay indoors but some were strolling in parks or along the waterfront on Sunday morning.
A father carries his sick child as its being transferred to another car as their ambulance is stuck on a highway by toppled electric posts caused by strong winds after Typhoon Mangkhut hit Baggao town in Cagayan province, north of Manila 
A father carries his sick child as its being transferred to another car as their ambulance is trapped on a highway by toppled electric posts caused by strong winds after Typhoon Mangkhut hit Baggao town in Cagayan province, north of Manila  CREDIT: TED ALJIBE/AFP
"I went running this morning. I love fresh air and there's no one on the streets, no cars. On normal days we can't see this," said Hao Chen, 28, who lives in the neighborhood of Tin Hau, on Hong Kong Island.
Resident Antony Kwok in the fishing village of Tai O said flood defenses and ladders had been set up to protect those who live in the area's stilt houses as waters began to rise.
Almost all flights in and out of Hong Kong were canceled.
In the neighboring gambling enclave of Macau, all 42 casinos shut Saturday night and businesses were shuttered Sunday morning, some boarded up and protected by piles of sandbags.
Streets in parts of Macau were underwater as a storm surge sent water gushing from the harbor into the city.
The government and casinos are taking extra precautions after Macau was battered by Typhoon Hato last year, which left 12 dead.
Manila police give out rice porridge to residents living along the coastal community of Baseco as they evacuate during the onslaught of Typhoon Mangkhut
Manila police give out rice porridge to residents living along the coastal community of Baseco as they evacuate during the onslaught of Typhoon Mangkhut CREDIT: BULLIT MARQUEZ/AP
Preparations were in high gear on China's southern coast, including in Yangjiang, which is not often hit by major typhoons and where the city's 2.4 million people were bracing for a direct hit.
Further down the coast preparations were also underway in Zhanjiang, where some villagers feared for the worst.
"I couldn't sleep last night, I saw the typhoon on television and how intense it was," said 55-year-old Chan Yau Lok.

MOST VIEWED ARTICLES