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Evacuations start as Typhoon Mangkhut bears down on Philippines

13 September 2018

Super Typhoon Manghkut is on track to hit the northern Philippines with its strongest winds on Friday before striking Taiwan and then possibly heading towards Hong Kong and mainland China.

According to a report from weather website AccuWeather, Mangkhut is expected to bring the threat of flooding, rainfall and strong winds from the Philippines and Taiwan into China early next week.

On Guam, where Mangkhut has passed, residents woke up Tuesday to flooded streets, downed trees and widespread power outages.

With winds that may gust up to 240km/h, Mangkhut is expected to be more powerful than the Super Typhoon Wanda that resulted in heavy casualties in 1962 and the Super Typhoon Hato, which triggered the highest level typhoon warning signal previous year.

Senator Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Philippines Red Cross, said on Wednesday: "We're anxious for the 10 million people in the Philippines living in the path of this destructive storm, including those who have been displaced several times due to the monsoon rains last July and August".

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According to the U.N. Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, the super typhoon could affect as many as 43.4 million people before it fades away.

Before Mangkhut arrives, both Hong Kong and Macau will have to deal with the smaller Typhoon Barijat.

The Pacific Daily News reported government agencies were conducting damage assessments and beginning to clear roads.

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba tells The Associated Press by telephone that evacuations of residents from risky coastal villages and island municipalities north of the province have started and classes in all levels have been canceled.

Schools and offices are being closed and farmers are racing to save crops.

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The country's deadliest on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013.

Mangkhut, a Thai word for mangosteen, is the 15th storm this year to batter the Philippines, which is hit by about 20 a year and is considered one of the world's most disaster-prone countries. The Philippines has been trying to cope with rice shortages.

After leaving the Philippines, it is expected to blow toward Hong Kong and southern China on Sunday if it maintains its course, forecasters said.

Meanwhile, the US east coast braces as Hurricane Florence barrels towards the Carolinas, expected to make landfall late September 14 or early September 15.

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Evacuations start as Typhoon Mangkhut bears down on Philippines