Saturday 18 January 2020

Typhoon Haima lashes China after leaving 13 dead in Philippines

A damaged bridge linking the summer capital of Baguio city in northern Philippines to Manila (AP)
A damaged bridge linking the summer capital of Baguio city in northern Philippines to Manila (AP)

Typhoon Haima has barrelled into southern China after hammering the northern Philippines, where it triggered flooding, landslides and power outages and killed at least 13 people.

Chinese meteorological services said the typhoon made landfall shortly after noon in the city of Shanwei in Guangdong province, packing winds of up to 103mph before weakening to a tropical storm.

No major damage was immediately reported, although reports said some villages had experienced power outages and officials were on alert for heavy flooding and landslides.

China has suspended dozens of flights and rail services in several southern provinces. In the city of Shenzhen, authorities ordered schools, markets and factories to close, halted public transportation and evacuated some areas.

Hong Kong hunkered down as Haima lashed the financial hub with rain and wind gusts of up to 68mph.

Schools and offices were shut, trading on the stock market suspended and commuter ferry services halted after the third most serious storm signal was raised, leaving an eerie calm in the streets of the normally bustling city.

More than 740 flights to and from the city's international airport were cancelled or delayed.

In the Philippines, Haima's blinding winds and rain on Thursday rekindled fears of the catastrophe wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which left 7,300 dead, but there has been no report of any major damage.

Large-scale casualties appeared to have been averted after more than 100,000 people fled to safer ground. Several villages were cut off by fallen trees, landslides and floods, impeding communications and aid.

At least 13 people were killed, mostly in landslides and floods, officials said, but the evacuations from high-risk communities helped prevent a larger number of casualties and thousands were still in emergency shelters.

The extent of damage in Cagayan, about 300 miles north of Manila, where the typhoon made landfall, was evident in overturned vans, toppled or leaning electricity poles and debris blocking roads.

Most stores, their window panes shattered and canopies shredded by the wind, were closed.


PA Media

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