Super Typhoon Mangkhut is hurling winds at speeds of 180 mph
The Philippines is evacuating thousands of people, deploying soldiers and positioning emergency provisions as Super Typhoon Mangkhut threatens more than four million people in the north of the country.
According to the Global Disaster Alert and Coodination System (GDACS), the Philippines, Vietnam, the Chinese regions of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau would be affected.
It added that nearly 37 million people are estimated to be in Mangkhut’s path. GDACS estimates that the typhoon will have a “high humanitarian impact” based on the high wind speeds and the exposed population located in vulnerable areas.
Mangkhut, which is equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane, has prompted mass evacuations in the Philippines. Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, commander of North Luzon forces, said 2,000 families have been evacuated from their homes as of Friday. Tens of thousands more have been evacuated from China’s Guangdong, CNN reported.
The super typhoon is expected to touch down on the Philippines’ largest island of Luzon on Saturday. Philippines flagship airline cancelled flights to cities in northern Luzon. Philippine budget airline Cebu Pacific, along with multiple Hong Kong airlines including Cathay Pacific, also announced flight changes.
Philippine Civil Defense chief Ricardo Jalad said during an emergency meeting that about 4.2 million people in the northeastern Cagayan province are vulnerable from the typhoon, which has an eye measuring 78 miles (125 kilometers) across.
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According to GDACS, the storm formed over the north-west Pacific Ocean last Friday, and strengthened as it moved over the Mariana Islands and the US territory of Guam. The typhoon left parts of Guam without electricity, as well as knocked down power poles, destroyed houses, uprooted trees, and flooded large areas, the local newspaper Pacific Daily News reported.
Mangkhut may be one of the strongest storms to hit the region.In the US, Hurricane Florence arrived in North Carolina, bringing massive floods and hurricane-force winds with a maximum sustained speed of 90 mph in what the US National Hurricane Center has warned could be a “catastrophic” situation.
Tropical Storm Barijat is moving towards southern China, while Tropical Storm Olivia hit Hawaii with 45 mile per hour winds.