Flight chaos as typhoon lashes southern China, killing three

Severe Typhoon Usagi killed at least three people as it smashed into southern China Sunday, shutting down one of the world's busiest sea ports in nearby Hong Kong and throwing flight schedules into disarray.

Usagi, described by meteorologists as the most powerful storm on Earth this year, packed winds of 165 kilometres (103 miles) per hour as it hit land in China's densely populated Pearl River Delta, according to Chinese officials.

Two people were killed in Guangdong province after they were hit by a falling tree, according to the Xinhua news agency, and elsewhere in the province a villager was killed by falling glass, while a woman was missing after her fishing boat capsized.

Xinhua said inter-city trains between Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai were suspended and winds were strong enough near Shanwei city to blow cars off the road. More than 47,000 fishing boats are in harbour and schools were closed in 14 cities.

Usagi had previously killed two people in the Philippines and unleashed landslides and power outages across southern Taiwan as it ploughed through the Luzon Strait with ferocious winds and torrential downpours.

The Hong Kong Observatory hoisted the No. 8 signal -- the third of a five-step tropical storm warning.

Authorities in the southern Chinese city said it was likely to bring "severe" disruption, with transport systems affected and expectations of high waves and flooding in low-lying areas.

Meteorological authorities told Xinhua that the storm made landfall at 7:40 pm (1140 GMT) near Shanwei, sparing densely populated Hong Kong a direct hit.

But at Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airport, airline counters were besieged by anxious passengers hoping to rebook their flights after the Cathay Pacific group said it was cancelling all its flights from 6:00 pm Sunday.

With many other airlines following suit, only a handful of flights were still scheduled to land or take off after 6:00 pm. Incoming flights from London, Sydney and Chicago among other cities were cancelled, and thousands risked being stranded.

Operators at Hong Kong's sea port ceased work late on Saturday, stranding many giant tankers in sea channels not far from shore.

The financial hub is well versed in typhoon preparations and enforces strict building codes, so rarely suffers major loss of life as a result of tropical storms but the observatory warned against complacency.

China's National Meteorological Centre earlier issued a "red alert" -- its highest-level warning -- for Usagi, which means rabbit in Japanese. It forecast gale-force winds and heavy rain.

On its way towards southern China, Usagi forced the evacuation of 3,400 people in southern Taiwan, dumped more than 70 centimetres (27 inches) of rain on Hualien city, and forced more than 100 flights to be delayed or cancelled to and from the island.

A mudslide hit one hotel in a popular hot-springs resort area of Taiwan's Taitung county late Saturday, shattering windows and damaging furniture.

"I heard a loud sound and (the mudslide) came through the windows of the restaurant in the back. Our customers were safe but we estimate losses of Tw$1.5 million ($50,000)," a hotel worker told reporters.

Remote villages suffered heavy flooding.

"I thought a tsunami was hitting... I've never encountered this before in my life," said a 60-year-old woman who scrambled to safety with her pet dog.

Twelve people were injured in Kinmen, a Taiwan-controlled island off China's Fujian province, after they were hit by falling trees, according to the Central Emergency Operation Centre.

But in the Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung, a giant yellow duck designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman was set to be reflated as wind speeds ebbed.

Prior to hitting Taiwan, Usagi brushed the far north of the Philippines where a man and a woman drowned on Friday when their boat capsized in high seas. Another three people are missing.

Authorities in the Batan and Babuyan island groups reported toppled power pylons as well as houses, schools and government buildings losing their roofs.

"Some roads are impassable due to debris, landslides and flooding. Local disaster officials told us this was the strongest typhoon they had experienced in years," regional civil defence officer Ronald Villa told AFP.

The region is regularly pummelled by tropical storms. Typhoon Bopha left a trail of destruction in the southern Philippines last year, triggering floods and landslides that left more than 1,800 dead and missing and displaced nearly one million people.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options