TUGUEGARAO: Super Typhoon Mangkhut smashed through the Philippines on Saturday, as the biggest storm to hit the region this year claimed the lives of its first victims and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes, reports AFP.
Roughly four million people were in the path of destruction the storm slashed through the northern tip of Luzon island, leaving at least four dead.“As we go forward, this number will go higher,” Ricardo Jalad, head of the national civil defence office, told reporters, referring to the death toll.
As the powerful storm left the Southeast Asian archipelago and barrelled towards densely populated Hong Kong and southern China, Philippine authorities began sending search teams to remote areas.
The extent of the storm’s destruction began to emerge later on Saturday, with reports of rain-soaked hillsides collapsing, torrents of out-of-control floodwaters and people being rescued from inundated homes.
Just over 105,000 people fled their homes in the largely rural, agricultural region, seeking to escape the fury of the massive typhoon.
Mangkhut was packing sustained winds of 170 kilometres (105 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 260 km per hour as it left the Philippines.
An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.