Typhoon Mangkhut heads towards China

Typhoon Mangkhut heads towards China

Tuguegarao Airport is damaged due to Typhoon Mangkhut, Tuguegarao City, Philippines, on September 15, 2018, in this image obtained from social media.

Last year, 10 people died in Macau as a result of Typhoon Hato, the strongest storm to hit the city in more than five decades.

Hong Kong braced for heavy rain and wind as Typhoon Mangkhut barreled toward the city Sunday, regaining some strength after taking a powerful swipe at the Philippines a day prior that left at least 28 people dead.

Authorities said the military and other emergency responders were on standby.

Typhoon Mangkhut is on course to hit north-eastern Cagayan province early on Saturday.

The storm could hit Hong Kong and China's Pearl River Delta area, which has more than 60 million people and is a manufacturing hub.

Four million people were in its path, and thousands were evacuated amid warnings of six metres (20 feet) storm surges.

In the past hour, the maximum sustained winds recorded at Tate's Cairn, Waglan Island and Cheung Chau were 114, 94 and 63 kilometers per hour with maximum gusts 149, 113 and 98 kilometers per hour respectively.

Rescue workers clear a road of debris and toppled electric posts caused by strong winds due to super Typhoon Mangkhut as they try to reach Baggao town, north of Manila, Philippines, Sept. 15, 2018.

Mangkhut had been a category 5 storm for days since wreaking havoc in U.S. Pacific territories of Micronesia before edging towards the Philippines, where it is the 15th and strongest storm this year.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte held a meeting Thursday of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), where it was chose to put in place extra emergency procedures ahead of the storm.

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Northern Luzon was also devastated in 2016 by Super Typhoon Haima - known as Lawin locally - with 14,000 houses destroyed and 50,000 damaged, according to CNN Philippines.

Storm chaser James Reynolds, who was in a hotel in Santa Ana, in Cagayan, when the storm hit, described how the winds ripped through the hotel's interior, leaving it uninhabitable.

Authorities in some areas of northern Luzon turned off power as a precaution, and said some residents in high-risk areas chose to ride out the storm to protect homes from looters.

Airlines in Hong Kong have cancelled hundreds of flights due to the storm, which is expected to come within 200 km (125 miles) of the city on Sunday.

About 87,000 people evacuated from high-risk areas of the Philippines.

The Macau government was heavily criticised by residents past year for failing to prepare the city ahead of Typhoon Hato, which left widespread damage and 12 people dead.

Formerly classified as a super typhoon, Mangkhut is known as Ompong in the Philippines - as NPR's worldwide correspondent Julie McCarthy reports, the government gives it a "Filipino cast" to engage the public.

"Because Mangkhut will bring winds and rains of extraordinary speeds, scope and severity, our preparation and response efforts will be greater than in the past", Ka-chiu said, according to the Associated Press.

In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing, flattened villages, swept ships inland and displaced more than 5 million in the central Philippines.

National carrier Finnair announced Saturday afternoon that it had cancelled flights AY 101 and AY 099 scheduled to depart Helsinki for Hong Kong at 4.45pm and 11.45pm respectively.

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