Hong Kong and China on highest storm alert as typhoon approaches

Hong Kong and China on highest storm alert as typhoon approaches

China has ordered about 6,000 boats to return to harbour, and evacuated thousands of offshore oil platform workers, the state news agency, Xinhua, said.

Hundreds of flights were canceled.

While the storm has weakened, a T8 warning was still in place into Sunday evening - meaning that winds with speeds of about 63 kph were expected. "Each department must have a sense of crisis, make a comprehensive assessment and plan, and prepare for the worst". The airline canceled more than 400 flights, while Cathay Dragon and Hong Kong Airlines grounded their fleets on Sunday.

In China, all flights at Guangzhou International Airport were canceled from midday Sunday through Monday morning. Nearly all flights in and out of Hong Kong were cancelled.

A giant wave strikes the coast during Typhoon Mangkhut, Hong Kong, Sept. 16, 2018, in this still image obtained from a social media video.

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

Hong Kong's famed Victoria Harbor was hit with a storm surge of more than 3.9 meters (12.8 feet) above chart datum Sunday.

Mangkhut is considered the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the region this year, with gale force winds of more than 200 kph, equal to a maximum Category 5 "intense hurricane" in the Atlantic.

The massive storm cut a swathe of destruction when it struck the northern tip of Luzon island, threatening the lives and homes of roughly 4 million people.

"They [authorities] said this typhoon is twice as strong as the last typhoon, that's why we are terrified", Myrna Parallag, 53, told reporters after fleeing her home in the northern Philippines.

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The mayor expressed sadness that the villagers, many of them poor, had few options to survive in a region where big corporations have profited immensely from gold mines. Most died in landslides caused by heavy rain.

"I could hear villagers wailing in their homes near the site of the accident", Tacio said.

A police officer said rescuers couldn't access the area on Saturday because the ground was unstable.

After the typhoon hit Macau, 15 people were reported injured and 20,000 households lost power, according to the South China Morning Post.

The bodies of the two women in the Philippines were pulled from the soil of a hillside that collapsed after the storm's torrential rains, Philippine police said.

Still, the Philippines appeared to have been spared the high number of casualties many had feared.

A super typhoon made landfall in China's Guangdong on Sunday, the country's most populous province, after wreaking havoc in Hong Kong and Macau and killing at least 40 people in the Philippines.

In the Philippines, some 105,000 people were staying in temporary shelters after the mass evacuation of coastal areas following major storm surge warnings.

There are no immediate deaths reported but Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said officials in northeastern Cagayan province, where the typhoon slammed ashore before dawn, were verifying the drownings of two children.

Farms across northern Luzon, which produces much of the nation's rice and corn, were sitting under muddy floodwater, their crops ruined just a month before harvest.

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