At least 12 dead after Typhoon Mangkhut lashes Philippines

At least 12 dead after Typhoon Mangkhut lashes Philippines

At least 12 dead after Typhoon Mangkhut lashes Philippines

MANILA-President Rodrigo Duterte plans to visit areas hit by Typhoon Ompong (international name: Mangkhut) as soon as these places become accessible, his top aide said Saturday.

Coastal areas of Cagayan and Isabela may be hit by a sea surge of up to six meters (19.6 feet), the authority said.

Government workers clear a partially damaged road after Typhoon Mangkhut hit the main island of Luzon, in Sta Fe, Nueva Viscaya, Philippines, September 15, 2018.

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.

Also a young girl was found in the Marikina River in the eastern part of metropolitan Manila, which appeared to avoid major damage.

Businesses and residents on Luzon, an island home to millions, were making last-minute preparations as forecasters warned of wind gusts as high as 255 kilometers per hour.

The area is home to around 10 million people, many of whom live in flimsy wooden shelters.

Military, medical and emergency response teams were on standby, with more rescue teams ready to help first-responders in trouble, Ricardo Jalad, head of the disaster agency, told a televised meeting.

After losing some of its wind speed over land, the storm was downgraded from a super typhoon and is now travelling with wind speeds equivalent to a category four hurricane.

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.

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Residents had started lashing down their roofs and gathering supplies days before the arrival of the storm.

"All things being equal, Mangkhut is a bigger, stronger and more risky storm" than Hurricane Florence, which is battering the Carolinas, said CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller.

"This is a violent typhoon". The Joint Typhoon Warning Center U.S. Navy-U.S. Air Force command, located in Hawaii, had downgraded Mangkhut from a "super typhoon", when it had peak wind speeds of 180 miles per hour, prior to landfall on the country's largest and most populous island.

After blasting the Philippines, Mangkhut is predicted to hurtle towards China's heavily populated southern coast this weekend.

Myrna Parallag and her two young grandchildren fled their home a day before Mangkhut struck.

"We're praying that there will be less damage this time, although we know that this one will be very strong", Banez said. In the case of a typhoon, he said his family goes through certain procedures to make sure their home is safe.

Philippine authorities have said they are better prepared than in 2013, when Typhoon Haiyan devastated central areas of the country and killed 6,300 people.

Storm warnings remained hoisted in 10 northern provinces, including Cagayan, which could still be lashed by devastating winds, forecasters said.

A Strong Wind Signal No. 3 is set to be issued later Saturday, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.

The Philippine budget airline Cebu Pacific, along with multiple Hong Kong airlines including Cathay Pacific, also announced flight changes. In addition to the eight killed in the Philippines, a woman was swept out to sea in Taiwan.

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