Typhoon Mangkhut makes landfall in Philippines

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Philippines on alert

Over two dozen people have died and widespread damage reported as the monster Typhoon Mangkhut crashed into the northern Philippines coast and Taiwan. The storm is also expected to hit Hong Kong and southern China.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut — the strongest storm this year — made landfall early on Saturday, according to officials in the Philippines.

Fierce winds and heavy rains ripped off rooftops, toppled trees and lampposts, and cut power to more than 4 million people across Cagayan province on Luzon island, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Manila, local media reported.

Mangkhut battered the area with maximum winds of 205 kilometers per hour (127 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 285 kilometers per hour.

Over a dozen people killed

At least 25 people died in the northern Philippines including an infant and another child who were killed in a landslide in the province of Nueva Vizcaya, according to a presidential adviser, who suggested the death toll could climb. 

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Two rescue workers were killed while responding to landslides caused by the typhoon; a dead body was also found in a Manila river.

Further north, in Taiwan, the government said one woman was killed after being swept away by high waves.

Although the island didn't feel the full force of the typhoon, officials warned residents to expect heavy rain, strong winds and tall waves for the rest of the weekend.

A massive evacuation got underway earlier as the typhoon barreled toward the Philippines. About 5 million people there are at risk from the storm, according to the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

The center downgraded the typhoon to the equivalent of a category 4 Atlantic hurricane. It has a huge raincloud about 900 kilometers (560 miles) wide.

'You can't even crawl'

Philippines government forecaster Rene Paciente issued a warning about the force of the winds: "It can lift cars, you can't stand, you can't even crawl against that wind."

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Paciente also cautioned residents that even if the typhoon weakens after making landfall, it will remain incredibly destructive.

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Typhoon Mangkhut wreaks havoc in south China, Macau and Hong Kong

Water and wind cause devastation

Super typhoon Mangkhut brought hurricane-force winds over 200 kilometers per hour (124 miles/h) to Hong Kong and the neighboring gambling hub of Macau, before making landfall in China.

Typhoon Mangkhut wreaks havoc in south China, Macau and Hong Kong

Falling trees cause fatalities

Three people were killed by falling trees in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou. Mangkhut also felled trees, tore scaffolding off buildings under construction and flooded some areas with waist-high water. A person died when a building collapsed in Dongguan, according to the National Disaster Reduction Center of China.

Typhoon Mangkhut wreaks havoc in south China, Macau and Hong Kong

Hong Kong waves

The typhoon brought Hong Kong to a standstill, injuring more than 200 people. The South China Morning Post said Hong Kong's hospitals had to use backup power due to outages caused by the storm.

Typhoon Mangkhut wreaks havoc in south China, Macau and Hong Kong

Taxis crushed by tree branches

Residents of Hong Kong were told to stay away from the coastline and be on alert for occasional gales. Bus, ferry and rail services were suspended and almost 900 flights were canceled at the city's airport. Travel in Hong Kong remains difficult on Monday.

Typhoon Mangkhut wreaks havoc in south China, Macau and Hong Kong

Macau casinos shuttered

Macau, meanwhile, shut all 42 casinos for the first time as the territory bore the brunt of the typhoon. Electricity supply was cut off in low-lying areas and as streets were flooded, citizens fled to temporary shelters.

Those who live in the typhoon's projected path and cannot flee have been reinforcing their homes and stocking up on food.

The typhoon struck at the start of the rice and corn harvesting season in the region, prompting farmers to scramble to save what they could of their crops, said the local governor, Manuel Mamba.

China on alert

Southeastern China has also been taking precautions, as the typhoon is expected to reach its mainland by Monday morning. More than 3,000 shelters have been set up in the southern Guangdong province, and more than 100,000 residents and tourists have either been moved to safety or sent home.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific airlines said all flights on Sunday would remain grounded.

The area has seen its share of catastrophic typhoons in recent years, the most severe of which was Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. More than 7,300 people in the Philippines were killed, entire villages were destroyed, and more than 5 million people were displaced.

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