11 July 2024

Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which forecasters have called the strongest typhoon this year, slammed into the northern Philippines on Saturday with violent winds and torrential rains, as authorities warned millions in its path of potentially heavy destruction.

It packed powerful gusts of up to 255 kilometers (160 miles) per hour and sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour while heading west across the disaster-prone archipelago towards China.

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.

Thousands of people fled their homes in high-risk areas ahead of the storm’s arrival because of major flooding and landslide risks.

Authorities hiked the storm alert on Friday to its second highest level in northern Luzon provinces and mobilised rescue teams.

The elevated warning level carried risks of “very heavy” damage to communities hit by the typhoon and a storm surge that was forecast to hit six meters in some areas, the weather service said.

Residents started lashing down their roofs and gathering supplies days before the arrival of the storm that forecasters said is the most powerful of 2018.