The most powerful storm of the year is expected to hit China's shores not far from Hong Kong. It could be strengthened by crossing the China Sea.
The typhoon Mangkhut, the most powerful of the year, set sail on Sunday 16 September to the densely populated coast of southern China, after to have struck the northern Philippines where it killed at least 12 people and forced more than 100,000 to run away their home.
Mangkhut is heading towards an area not far from the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong, where the Meteorological Observatory has urged the population to be cautious, speaking of "Considerable threat" for the southern coasts of China. After leaving the Philippine territory, Mangkhut was still accompanied by winds at 145 km / h, with gusts of up to 180 km / h. The typhoon could regain in power passing over the warm waters of the China Sea.
In Hong Kong, the shelves of bakeries and supermarkets were emptying quickly, the locals stocking provisions for the arrival of the typhoon. The same phenomenon was observed in the neighboring Chinese territory of Macao. Volunteers helped the people of the fishing village of Tai O to raise their furniture and appliances in anticipation of expected floods. Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific plans to cancel more than 400 flights over the next three days.
A hundred typhoons every year
In northern Luzon, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago, about four million people found themselves on Saturday on the path of the typhoon, whose winds reached in some places 330 km / h. The extent of the damage appeared Saturday in the day, with slumps of hillsides filled with water, uncontrollable floods flowing down the streets and the evacuation of residents from their flooded homes. Rescuers have been deployed to the most heavily impacted rural and hilly areas.
The number of people killed "should increase over time "warned Ricardo Jalad, head of the national office of civil defense. The twelve dead in the Philippines so far include six people killed by landslides, a drowning girl and a security guard killed by the fall of a wall.
Just over 105,000 people have fled their homes to flee the typhoon weather in this predominantly rural and agricultural region. The Philippines is hit every year by about 20 typhoons that kill hundreds of people and exacerbate poverty. "Of all the typhoons this year, this one is the strongest, the winds that accompany it are the most violent"explains the forecaster of the Japan Meteorological Agency Hiroshi Ishihara.
Call for caution in Taiwan
Filipinos living in the affected area report having experienced a night of anguish in the face of wild nature. "It felt like it was the end of the world. I could not sleep », told the telephone to AFP Bebeth Saquing, a resident of Luzon. Her house, however, withstood the onslaught of wind, says the 64-year-old.
Haiyan, in November 2013, is the deadliest typhoon to have hit the Philippines. Giant waves, similar to those caused by a tsunami, had devastated everything in their path. The disaster had left more than 7,350 dead or missing.
In Taiwan, a woman was swept away by the raging sea. The island, although hundreds of kilometers away from the Philippines and the typhoon, suffers heavy rainfall caused by Mangkhut. President Tsai Ing-wen asked her compatriots to take their precautions and to preparewhile powerful waves beat the shore. She called them on Facebook to be cautious: "The typhoon is powerful and even if it should not to touch Taiwan, we have to hold ready and do not take it lightly ".