Hope fades in Philippines for dozens buried in landslides


On Sunday morning, Mangkhut was barreling toward densely populated southern China and Hong Kong, where authorities raised the highest storm warnings and moved almost a half-million people to shelter from seven cities.

Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall Sunday in mainland China, but not before deadly 100-plus miles per hour winds blew through the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Jason Capobianco, an Australian film maker living in Hong Kong, said residents stayed indoors but could not fully escape the storm's wrath.

Bus, ferry and rail services were suspended and nearly 900 flights were cancelled at the city's airport, one of the world's busiest.

After tearing through Luzon and pummelling Hong Kong and Macau, the storm made landfall in mainland China late Sunday.

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan told The Associated Press by phone that at the height of the typhoon's onslaught on Saturday afternoon, dozens of people, mostly miners and their families, rushed into an old three-story building in the village of Ucab. At least 43 bodies have since been recovered, The New York Times reported, potentially doubling the country's death toll from the storm.

The storm also broke windows, felled trees, tore bamboo scaffolding off buildings under construction and flooded areas with sometimes waist-high waters, the South China Morning Post reported.

More than 2.45 million people have been relocated and over 48,000 fishing boats called back to port in the province.

After formed in the east of the Philippines, the storm intensified into a super typhoon with maximum wind speeds of 250 kilometers per hour and sustained the strength for days before slamming into the northern Philippines on Saturday with violent winds and torrential rain.

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Airports and high-speed railways in Guangdong, too, were shut down, throttling traffic in one of world's most urbanized and densely populated regions, with 100 million people.

"Our current goal is to get the clearing-up work done in most main routes by 5am", transport commissioner Mable Chan said on Monday night, adding that smaller roads and certain routes in the North and Sai Kung districts would take more time.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who also attended the briefing, felt that Hong Kong was well-prepared for Mangkhut and the authorities were able to activate their plans shortly after the Hong Kong Observatory signalled the approaching strong winds.

On Monday morning, shopkeepers in Macau were hosing down their stores which had been caked in mud after the floodwaters receded.

Fearsome winds caused storm surges as high as three metres in Victoria Harbour, which separates Hong Kong Island from the rest of the city.

Forecasters warned that strong winds and heavy rain will last until Tuesday.

Mangkhut has been downgraded to a tropical storm this morning.

But the head of the military's Northern Luzon Command, Emmanuel Salamat, told Reuters that at least 19 more were killed in landslides in one part of Benguet province. A massive evacuation ahead of Mangkhut helped lessen potential casualties, with about 87,000 people evacuating from high-risk areas, officials said.