Asia-Pacific

Typhoon Mangkhut wreaks havoc in southern China as Philippines death toll rises

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Typhoon Mangkhut has slammed into China's Guangdong province after wreaking havoc in Hong Kong and Macau and pummelling the Philippines, killing at least 50 people.

China’s southern regions faced more heavy rainfall on Monday as a devastating typhoon swept west, with key transport services already suspended and millions of residents forced to evacuate, the country’s weather bureau said.

Tropical cyclone Mangkhut made landfall in the southeast Chinese province of Guangdong on Sunday after causing devastation in the Philippines, where the death toll was expected to exceed 50.

The China Meteorological Administration said early on Monday rainfall from the typhoon, dubbed the “King of Storms”, was expected to reach 100-160 millimetres.

It said Mangkhut was located in Hengxian in Guangxi at 6am (2200 GMT Sunday) and had weakened to a “tropical storm”. The storm was also due to hit the regions of Guizhou, Chongqing and Yunnan on Monday.

The meteorological administration said Mangkhut was one of the 10 biggest storms to hit southeast China since 1949, with wind speeds at around 162 km/h (100 mph).

Pedestrians in Guangzhou city shield themselves with an umbrella against strong wind and heavy rain caused by Typhoon Mangkhut.
Pedestrians in Guangzhou city shield themselves with an umbrella against strong wind and heavy rain caused by Typhoon Mangkhut.
ICHPL Imaginechina

Two people were reported to have been killed in Guangdong, China’s most populous province. More than 2.45 million residents were relocated, state media reported.

China’s emergency management ministry, which deals with natural disasters, said in a notice late on Sunday it had already sent 24,000 officers to vulnerable parts of Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi, Guizhou and Yunnan. 

Authorities throughout those regions had been urged to dismantle structures vulnerable to heavy winds, strengthen port facilities and suspend large outdoor gatherings, the meteorological administration said.

Flooding in Hong Kong and Macau 

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 those killed in the Philippines, a woman was swept out to sea in Taiwan.

In Hong Kong, waters surged in the famous Victoria Harbour and coastal fishing villages, from which hundreds of residents were evacuated to storm shelters.

Some roads were waist-deep in water with parts of the city cut off by floods and fallen trees. 

In the fishing village of Tai O, where many people live in stilt houses built over the sea, some desperately tried to bail out their inundated homes.

"Floodwater is rushing into my home but I'm continuously shovelling the water out. It's a race against time," resident Lau King-cheung told AFP by phone.  

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The government warned people to stay indoors but some ventured out, heading to the coast to take photos.

A couple with a child were seen by an AFP reporter taking pictures on a pier known as a popular Instagram spot as waves surged and almost submerged it.

Others stayed at home but were terrified by smashing windows in their apartments.

"The entire floor and bed are covered in glass," one resident told local broadcaster TVB after her bedroom window shattered. "The wind is so strong."

People with umbrellas walk against strong winds from Typhoon Mangkhut at Nanshan District in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province.
People with umbrellas walk against strong winds from Typhoon Mangkhut at Nanshan District in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province.
AAP/Xinhua

Almost all flights in and out of Hong Kong were cancelled. Schools in the city will be shut Monday.

In the neighbouring gambling enclave of Macau, all 42 casinos shut down for the first time in its history.

As the storm moved past Macau, streets became submerged under water gushing in from the harbour.

Emergency workers navigated the roads on jet-skis and dinghies, rescuing trapped residents. 

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

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