Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which struck the Philippines early Saturday as "the planet's strongest storm in 2018" before heading for China, has killed at least 69 people, and the death toll expected to rise in the worst hit portions of the Philippines as rescue workers search for dozens feared dead.
A landslide in Itogon, a town in the Phillipines' Benguet province, covered a former miners' bunkhouse converted into a chapel, where an estimated 40 to 50 people sought shelter despite warnings from police that it was unsafe, according to The Associated Press.
Mayor Victorio Palangdan said 11 bodies have been recovered, and there is a "99 percent" chance those who remain missing—mostly poor miners and their families—were killed.
"Hundreds of rescuers armed with shovels and picks, including police and soldiers, searched for the missing in the muddy avalanche along a mountainside as grief-stricken relatives waited nearby, many of them quietly praying. Bodies in black bags were laid side by side," the AP reported. "Those identified were carried away by relatives, some using crude bamboo slings."
IN PHOTOS: Volunteers continue to look for the bodies of missing miners on the second day of search and retrieval operations at a landslide site in Barangay Ucab, Itogon, Benguet. pic.twitter.com/BsHof41hNO
— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) September 17, 2018
After striking the Philippines, the storm moved to Hong Kong, where it caused "extenstive" damage—but so far, no reported deaths. "Wind gusts as strong as 120 miles an hour swept through the city," the New York Times reported, "rocking tall buildings and fueling storm swells that threatened the coastline with waves as high as 40 feet."
Hong Kong's Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu called the damage "serious and extensive," according to the South China Morning Post. "The Hong Kong Observatory said the intensity of the storm, which required a typhoon signal No 10 to stay in place for 10 hours, was the most powerful since records began in 1946."
VIDEO: Hong Kong begins a massive clean-up after Typhoon Mangkhut raked the city, shredding trees and causing widespread damage pic.twitter.com/1gVJYgEP5S
— AFP news agency (@AFP) September 17, 2018
— China Daily Asia (@ChinaDailyAsia) September 17, 2018
On Sunday evening, Mangkhut made landfall in Guangdong, China's most populous province, where it killed at least four people. CNN reported that more than three million were evacuated for safety reasons. Rain and powerful winds are forecast to continue through Tuesday along China's coast and the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan.
Mangkhut struck Southeast Asia just as Hurricane Florence battered the Southeastern United States this weekend. As recovery efforts are only beginning in both regions, experts and environmental activists continue to issue reminders that the human-caused climate crisis is exacerbating extreme weather—including tropical cyclones—and warnings that it will only get worse.
Our thoughts are with all those in the path of hurricanes and typhoons. But they need more than thoughts, they need real action to tackle the climate crisis making these storms worse.
There is no time to lose. Join us: https://t.co/gIquaWVt2K pic.twitter.com/83H5eUWJS5
— 350 dot org (@350) September 17, 2018
In the wake of Hurricane Maria and Typhoon Mangkhut, it's time to drop the comforting belief that the link between extreme weather and climate change is unproven https://t.co/9dodqRWlka
— Bloomberg Opinion (@bopinion) September 17, 2018
— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) September 15, 2018