Millions at Risk as Philippines, China Brace for Super Typhoon Mangkhut

Millions at Risk as Philippines, China Brace for Super Typhoon Mangkhut

Known as Ompong in the Philippines, the typhoon is expected to barrel through the northern and central parts of Luzon - the most populous island of the nation and where its capital Manila is - from early Thursday to Friday, a weather forecaster from Filipino weather agency PAGASA told The Philippine Star.

Mangkhut has been predicted to be the strongest storm to ever hit Hong Kong since records began according to South China Morning Post, and is expected to bring heavy rain and chances of flooding to the harbour city on Sunday.

The strengthening cyclone passed by Guam on Monday evening, bringing peak wind gusts of 130 km/h to the island before it reached its current super typhoon status.

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 a year ago.

"We're anxious for the 10 million people in the Philippines living in the path of this destructive storm", said Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.

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

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The Office of Civil Defense said other northern provinces also started evacuating residents Thursday from high-risk areas, including in northern mountain provinces prone to rain and mudslides. About 80 per cent of the United States territory was without power but it was restored by Thursday morning.

In 2016, a super typhoon lashed the southern section of Cagayan, destroying tens of thousands of houses.

A missile test aboard a navy ship to be attended by President Rodrigo Duterte off northern Bataan province was canceled due to the approaching typhoon. The threat to agriculture comes as the Philippines tries to cope with rice shortages.

It's expected to be 135 nautical miles (250 kilometers) off Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan on September 15 before heading to Hong Kong, according to the USA agency. Super Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,300 people in the Southeast Asian country in 2013.

It was the most powerful storm to hit Japan in 25 years and left at least 11 people reported dead and more than 600 injured, cutting off power supplies to more than a million homes.

The storm approaches the Phillipines as hurricane Florence will make landfall on the south-east coast of the USA later this week.

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