Four million people prepare to face Super-Typhoon Mangkhut

Four million people prepare to face Super-Typhoon Mangkhut: The most powerful storm of the year barrels towards the Philippines, bringing a 560-mile wide rain cloud band

  • Super-Typhoon Mangkhut  is due to make landfall on Saturday in the Philippines
  • 4.2million people are vulnerable to the most destructive effects of the storm 
  • Government has already evacuated thousands of people and efforts are ongoing 
  • Mangkhut is the 15th storm to hit Philippines, which is considered one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, so far this year 

The Philippines is bracing for the most destructive typhoon of the year to hit as ministers warned more than 4million people are vulnerable to its worse effects.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from coastal regions and thousands more will be moved before the storm makes landfall early on Saturday.

Some residents – condemned to live in perpetual poverty because of repeated storm damage – were pictured reinforcing their vulnerable homes any way they could before the weather worsens.  

Some placed heavy tyres on the roof to keep the corrugated metal from blowing away, others nailed wooden boards over glass windows, one man was even seen tying his roof down with rope.

Super-Typhoon Mangkhut, the equivalent to a Category 5 Atlantic Hurricane, is due to make landfall in the Philippines on Saturday, bringing 130mph winds and torrential rain

Thousands of residents most at risk from the storm are being evacuated but have been trying to secure their homes before fleeing, including tying the roof down with rope

A Filipino villager secures the roof of a house in the town of Aparri, Cagayan province, which is due to bear the brunt of the storm

A man places heavy wooden slats on top of his corrugated iron roof in the hopes of stopping it from being blown away in the storm

People who live in perpetual poverty because of repeated storm damage use anything they can to shore-up their homes, including placing heavy tyres on the roof

A view of one of the slums in the path of Super-Typhoon Manngkhut, which is due to strike the Philippines early on Saturday

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries on earth and is ravaged by an average of 20 storms per year. Mangkhut is the 15th to strike this year alone.

The deadliest on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013. 

When Haiyan made landfall it was also classed as a super-typhoon – equivalent to a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane – with sustained windspeeds were measured between 175mph and 195mph.

Mangkhut, while also an extremely powerful storm, is not expected to pack the same punch, but is predicted to cause widespread devastation.  

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It was tracked on Friday about 250 miles away in the Pacific with sustained winds of 127mph and gusts of up to 158 mph, Philippine forecasters said.

With a massive rain cloud band 560 miles wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the typhoon could bring intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, the forecasters said.

Storm warnings have been raised in 25 provinces across the main northern island of Luzon, restricting sea and air travel.

After the Philippines, the Hong Kong Observatory predicts Mangkhut will plow into the Chinese mainland early on Monday morning south of Hong Kong and north of the island province of Hainan.

A man uses wooden boards in an attempt to secure the roof of his house

Wooden planks are nailed over glass windows and holes in the wall in the hopes that it will help the shack survive the coming storm

Fisherman Randy Mediata, 34, uses rope in the hopes it will help his seaside shack hold together when it is hit by 130mph winds

Mr Mediata secures the rope to bamboo struts which help keep the shack out of the water

Though it will weaken from a super typhoon to a severe typhoon, it will still be packing sustained winds of 109mph.

The observatory warned of rough seas and frequent heavy squalls, urging residents of the densely populated financial hub to ‘take suitable precautions and pay close attention to the latest information’ on the storm.

The gambling enclave of Macau, next door to Hong Kong, suffered catastrophic flooding during Typhoon Hato last August that left 10 dead and led to accusations of corruption and incompetence at its meteorological office.

On the Chinese mainland, the three southern provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan are coordinating preparations, including suspending transport and moving people to shelter inland, the national meteorological agency reported.

Guangdong, China’s manufacturing hub, has set up 3,777 shelters, while more than 100,000 residents and tourists have been moved to safety or sent home.

The province has recalled more than 36,000 fishing boats to port, while train services between the cities of Zhanjiang and Maoming have been suspended and all ferry services between the Guangdong and Hainan have been put on hold.

Fujian province to the north of Guangdong is also closing beaches and tourist sites and preparing other measures depending on conditions, the agency reported.

Philippine Office of Civil Defence chief Ricardo Jalad told an emergency meeting led by President Rodrigo Duterte that about 4.2 million people in Cagayan, nearby Isabela province and outlying regions are vulnerable to the most destructive effects near the typhoon’s 77-mile-wide eye.

Nearly 48,000 houses in those high-risk areas are made of light materials and vulnerable to Mangkhut’s ferocious winds.

Fisherman haul their boat ashore in the hopes of keeping it safe from the coming storm

Filipino fishermen secure a boat in the town of Aparri, Cagayan province

Men bring their nets in as waves drive ashore by Mangkhut begin to build up ahead of its arrival

Rains have already started falling in the Philippines, with the government warning that torrential downpours will likely cause landslides and flooding

Residents evacuating ahead of the storm carry their possessions through the rain in Cagayan province, which is due to bare the worst effects of the storm

Across the north on Thursday, residents covered glass windows with wooden boards, strengthened houses with rope and braces and moved fishing boats to safety.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said by telephone that evacuations of residents from risky coastal villages and island municipalities north of the rice-and corn-producing province of 1.2 million people have started and school classes at all levels have been cancelled.

‘The weather here is still good but we’re moving them now because it’s very important that when it comes, people will be away from peril,’ Mr Mamba said.

A change in the typhoon’s track prompted authorities to rapidly reassess where to redeploy emergency teams and supplies, Mr Mamba said.

Mr Duterte asked Cabinet officials from the north to help oversee disaster-response work if needed, and told reporters it was too early to consider seeking foreign aid.

‘It would depend on the severity of the crisis,’ Mr Duterte said. ‘If it flattens everything, maybe we need to have some help.’

The typhoon is approaching at the start of the rice and corn harvesting season in Cagayan, a major agricultural producer, and farmers were scrambling to save what they could of their crops, Mr Mamba said. 

The threat to agriculture comes as the Philippines tries to cope with rice shortages.

Officials said other northern provinces started evacuating residents on Thursday from high-risk areas, including in northern mountain provinces prone to landslides.

Mr Duterte cancelled his appearance at a missile test firing aboard a navy ship off northern Bataan province due to the approaching typhoon.

On Guam, where Mangkhut already passed, residents dealt with flooded streets, downed trees and widespread power outages. 

Government agencies were conducting damage assessments and clearing roads, according to the Pacific Daily News.

About 80 per cent of the US territory was without power but it was restored by Thursday morning.

Mangkhut, a Thai word for the mangosteen fruit, is the 15th storm this year to batter the Philippines, which is hit by about 20 a year and is considered one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing and displaced over five million in the central Philippines in 2013. 

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