At least 100 people in the Philippines are feared dead as a result of Typhoon Mangkhut, including at least 40 people trapped in a bunkhouse buried in a landslide in a northern province.
The bunkhouse was a shelter at an old mining site in the town of Itogon, nearly 200km north of Manila, which “went missing” during a landslide, said Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan.
Between 40 and 50 people were thought to be inside the bunkhouse when the landslide occurred and another 32 people were reported dead in separate incidents in Itogon, he added.
“I can’t begin to accept this, but it looks like the casualties here are going to go up to at least 100,” he said.
The government earlier confirmed 29 deaths in landslides and other accidents in areas outside of Itogon when Mangkhut swept through for some 20 hours on Saturday.
Palangdan said the area where the bunkhouse was located was “dangerous because there was a big tunnel mined” by a private corporation decades ago, blaming mining for the landslides that hit the town of nearly 60,000 people.
“No more mining should be done in this municipality,” he said.
Mangkhut blew out of the Philippines on Saturday evening after pummelling the northern region of Luzon with heavy rains and fierce winds.
The typhoon, the strongest to hit the Philippines so far this year, also triggered floods and knocked out electricity in seven provinces, affecting more than 4 million people.
President Rodrigo Duterte inspected damage from the typhoon in a fly-by over Cagayan province, 382km north of Manila, where Mangkhut made landfall over Baggao town early Saturday.
He condoled with the families of those killed in the typhoon.
“I share the grief of those who have lost their loved ones,” he said in the briefing. “Those are what we call unforeseen events.”
Duterte, who dispatched several cabinet members to areas that would be hit by Mangkhut, said it was good that his officials were there from the start.
The typhoon lashed the northern Philippines with maximum winds of 205km/h and gusts of up to 285km/h.
Late on Sunday, Mangkhut hit China’s most populous province, bringing winds of up to 162km/h.
Guangdong has been on its highest alert for the typhoon.
Ports, oil refineries and industrial plants in the area have been shut. Power to some areas could also be reduced as a precaution, say grid operators.
The storm has fuelled concern about sugar production in Guangdong, which accounts for a tenth of national output, at about one million tonnes. China sugar futures rose last week on fears for the cane crop.
The airport in the boom town of Shenzhen has been shut since midnight, and will be closed until 8am (local time) on Monday. Flights have been cancelled in Guangzhou and the neighbouring island province of Hainan.
High winds and swells have also hit Fujian province north of Guangdong, shutting ports, suspending ferry services and cancelling more than 100 flights. Waves as high as 7.3m were sighted in the Taiwan Strait, Xinhua said.