Typhoon Mangkhut leaves 28 dead in trail of destruction across Philippines

Floodwaters inundated the fields of the Stanley White Recreation Center in New Bern NC in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence on Sunday | AP

Floodwaters inundated the fields of the Stanley White Recreation Center in New Bern NC in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence on Sunday | AP

As the long process of recovering from Typhoon Mangkhut began in earnest, Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu called the damage "serious and extensive", and said the number of calls for help, or reports of injury, was as much as five times higher than when Typhoon Hato battered Hong Kong in August a year ago.

Hong Kong began a massive clean-up on Monday after Typhoon Mangkhut raked the city, shredding trees and bringing damaging floods, in a trail of destruction that left dozens dead in the Philippines and millions evacuated in southern China.

Typhoon Mangkhut is the strongest tropical storm of the season so far with winds as fast as 200 kilometres per hour, Mangkhut has reportedly killed at least 25 people in the Philippines as it continues it's path towards southern China.

Most shops and public services are shut, and more than 800 flights have been cancelled at Hong Kong International Airport - affecting more than 100,000 passengers.

The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) has raised the storm warning level to the highest of T10, and shut much of the city down. High-speed-rail services were suspended in Guangdong and Hainan provinces.

Hong Kong's security minister John Lee Ka-chiu urged residents to prepare for the worst.

Mangkhut has swept over Hong Kong and Macau and on into China's southeast province of Guangdong, after devastating the Philippines, where the toll is likely to surpass 50.

Images of a residential apartment and an office building with their windows blown out circulated on social media in Hong Kong.

Mangkhut, with gusts reaching 190mph, had the equivalent-strength of a category 5 Atlantic hurricane when it made landfall on the Philippines on Saturday.

Mangkhut also felled trees, tore bamboo scaffolding off buildings under construction and flooded some areas of Hong Kong with waist-high waters, according to the South China Morning Post.

Along the coast, the gambling enclave of Macau, which was hit hard by Super Typhoon Hato last August, closed all its casinos, and all fishing boats from China's Guangdong province have been called into port.

Some residents have been evacuated from low-lying areas with storm surges of up to 3.5 m (12 ft) expected. Macau suffered catastrophic flooding during Typhoon Hato a year ago, leading to accusations of corruption and incompetence at its meteorological office.

Water levels surged by nearly 3.5m in places and live fish were washed on to the streets. "I share the grief of those who lost loved ones", he said, calling it "an act of God", according to the Philippine News Agency.

Police Director General Oscar Albayalde told The Associated Press that 20 had died in the Cordillera region, four in Nueva Vizcaya province and another outside of the two regions, as the typhoon battered the rice-growing and mountain area on Saturday. The disaster has already left five people injured in Macao, according to local media.

Three more deaths have been reported in northeastern Cagayan province, where the typhoon made landfall.

Still, the Philippines appeared to have been spared the high number of casualties many had feared.

The regional centre is Baguio City, officially known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

Palangdan said the area where the bunkhouse was located was "dangerous because there was a big tunnel mined" by a private corporation decades ago, blaming mining for the landslides that hit the town of almost 60,000 people.

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