Dozens Missing in Philippines After Landslide Triggered by Mangkhut

Thursday, 20 Sep, 2018

The skyline of the business district is silhouetted at sunset as typhoon Mangkhut is approaching Hong Kong Saturday. "What can we do?" The storm is expected to last the weekend in the Philippines before it makes its way to Hong Kong and southeastern China by Monday morning.

The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) raised the storm signal to T10 Sunday morning local time, closing shops and suspending transport as residents were warned to stay inside and well away from the water's edge.

Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde said that 20 people had died in the Cordillera mountain region, four in nearby Nueva Vizcaya province and another outside of the two regions.

Vietnam was struck by a record-breaking number of 16 tropical storms previous year that left 389 people dead or missing and injured 668 others, mostly in northern and central regions.

Numerous missing in the Philippines are gold miners and their families feared buried in a landslide after seeking shelter in a bunkhouse-turned-chapel in a village in Benguet province.

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

The typhoon lashed the northern Philippines with maximum winds of 205km/h and gusts of up to 285km/h.

Airports in Shenzhen, a technology hub across the border from Hong Kong, and on the resort island of Hainan also canceled all flights, according to Chinese state media.

The typhoon has weakened to a tropical storm.

Between 40 and 50 people were thought to be inside the bunkhouse when the landslide occurred and another 32 people were reported dead in separate incidents in Itogon, he added.

Tolentino says that at least two other people are missing and that the death toll could climb to 16 once other casualty reports are verified.

Typhoon Mangkhut had the equivalent strength of a category 5 Atlantic hurricane when it made landfall on the Philippines on Saturday.

With a massive raincloud band 900 kilometers (560 miles) wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the typhoon could bring heavy to intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, the forecasters said. Men used pikes and shovels to dig into the mud because the soaked ground was unstable and limited the use of heavy equipment on site.

More than 15,000 people were evacuated in the northern provinces by Friday afternoon, the Office of Civil Defence was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. Buildings swayed as sustained winds of about 96 miles per hour continued to slam against them.