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4 killed as typhoon Mangkhut slams south China

Beijing/Hong Kong, Sep 17: Four people have died as typhoon Mangkhut, the world’s strongest storm this year, ravaged the southern Chinese province of Guangdong after pummeling Hong Kong and killing dozens in the Philippines, authorities said on Monday.

The storm left 65 people dead in the Philippines and wrecked havoc in Hong Kong and nearby Macau, with at least 200 people injured, before moving through China.

Mangkhut made landfall in Guangdong on late Sunday afternoon, claiming four lives before heading west into neighbouring Guangxi province around midnight, Xinhua news agency reported.

Three people were killed by falling trees in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, while another person died from collapsing construction materials in the city of Dongguan, according to Guangdong’s disaster relief authorities.

More than three million people were moved to safety in southern China. Over 49,000 fishing boats were called back to port in the province.

In Guangxi, the lives of about 69,400 people were affected and about 45,000 people were relocated, according to the regional civil affairs bureau.

In Hong Kong, the storm tore off roofs and scaffolding from skyscrapers, shattered windows, shook high-rise buildings and caused massive flooding in low-lying areas as waves of more than three metres lashed the coast, CNN reported.

Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-Chiu said the damage was serious and extensive adding that the number of emergency calls and reports of injuries were up to five times higher than when typhoon Hato hit Hong Kong in August last year.

Ka-Chiu said that between 1,400 and 1,500 people sought refuge in shelters and police received 20,000 calls for help on Sunday, while some places like Cheung Chau and Heng Fa Chuen remained without water or electricity.

Public transport was suspended as well as flights at Hong Kong International Airport, which was gradually beginning to resume operations.

The worst affected areas in Hong Kong were low-lying coastal areas such as Lei Yue Mun, the Heng Fa Chuen residential neighbourhood and the fishing village of Tai O on Lantau, which was flooded, while sea levels rose up to four metres above normal in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Other major cities in China, including Shenzhen and Zhuhai, also suffered damage while in Guangxi province, around 228,000 people were evacuated and 98 flights cancelled in Nanning, the capital of the region.

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