Massive clean-up in Hong Kong after typhoon chaos

By AFP

BAGUIO • Hong Kong began a massive clean-up yesterday 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.

The death toll in the Philippines, where the main island of Luzon was mauled with fierce winds and rain, rose to 65 overnight as rescuers pulled more bodies from a huge landslide in the mountain town of Itogon.

The landslide buried an emergency shelter which was being used by miners and their families in the town.

No one has yet been pulled alive from the rubble and relatives of those buried are taking part in the rescue efforts, the town’s mayor Victorio Palangdan told AFP.

National police spokesman senior superintendent Benigno Durana said 43 other people are missing, and more than 155,000 people remain in evacuation centres two days after the typhoon struck.

Farms across northern Luzon, which produces much of the nation’s rice and corn, were sitting under muddy floodwater, their crops ruined just a month before harvest.

After tearing through Luzon and pummelling Hong Kong and Macau, the storm made landfall in mainland China late on Sunday, killing four in Guangdong province, including three hit by falling trees.

Authorities there said they had evacuated more than three million people and ordered tens of thousands of fishing boats back to port before the arrival of what Chinese media had dubbed the “King of Storms”.

In the high-rise city of Hong Kong, the government described the damage as “severe and extensive” with more than 300 people injured by Mangkhut, which triggered the maximum “T10” typhoon alert.

The monumental task of cleaning up the city began as residents, some in suits and ties, struggled to get back to work on roads that remained blocked by felled trees, mud and debris.

Schools were closed, bus services halted and travel disruption saw commuters piling onto platforms trying to board infrequent trains after trees fell on overhead lines.

Landslides and severe flooding affected some areas, with over 1,500 residents seeking refuge in temporary shelters overnight.

The storm, with gusts of more than 230kph (142mph), sent buildings swaying and waters surging into homes and shopping malls in Hong Kong, with some roads waist-deep in water.

Windows in tower blocks and skyscrapers were smashed as people cowered inside.

In the neighbourhood of Heng Fa Chuen, thousands of rocks and pebbles from the sea covered parkland along the coastline which had been battered by waves.