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A resident stands on the roof of her house on Sept 17, 2018 in in Calumpit township, Bulacan province north of Manila, Philippines, amidst flooding brought about by Typhoon Mangkhut which barreled into northeastern Philippines during the weekend and inundated low-lying areas.
Bullit Marquez/AP
Environment

Dozens Dead as Typhoon Mangkhut Strikes the Philippines, Hong Kong, and China


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Typhoon Mangkhut has devastated communities and severely damaged infrastructure in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and China. Extreme weather events, worsened by climate change, tend to hit those living in poverty the hardest, and Mangkhut is no exception. The full impact of the storm has yet to be determined and recovery efforts are still underway. You can take action to support climate action and resilience against such disasters here.

From fatal floods in Kerala, India to Hurricane Florence in the southeast of the United States, recent storms have wreaked havoc on entire communities, but Typhoon Mangkhut is proving to be this year’s strongest storm, and the full scale of its toll is yet to be seen.

The typhoon — which has now made its way from the Philippines to southern China — has already claimed dozens of lives.

Mangkhut’s rains and vicious winds struck the Philippines — where it is being called Super Typhoon Ompong — early on Saturday morning, before moving north to Hong Kong and striking China’s mainland on Sunday.

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

Though people were evacuated by the thousands ahead of the storm, more than 100 people are believed to be dead or missing in the Philippines, including 40 people who were killed by a massive landslide in the mining town of Itogon. Police officials expect the figure to rise, despite recovery efforts underway.

By the time the storm reached Hong Kong’s shores, it had lost some speed and been downgraded from a “super typhoon” to a “typhoon.” While no lives were lost on the islands — an autonomous Chinese territory — Mangkhut’s impact was still devastating.

The storm, which would be classified a Category 5 hurricane if it had originated in the Atlantic Ocean, will be particularly difficult for those living in poverty to recover from. The government opened dozens of temporary shelters for those in need, the South China Morning Post reported. But for those who previously lived in makeshift housing or poorly maintained low-income housing, Typhoon Mangkhut, which blasted through skyscraper windows and ripped scaffolding clear off buildings, was especially distressing.

In China, more than 2.4 million people were evacuated ahead of the storm and four deaths have already been reported, according to local media.

Though Mangkhut — the Thai word for the mangosteen fruit — is the worst storm the region has faced this year, the typhoon’s impact was not as severe as expected, the Guardian reported. The storm was originally expected to pass through Taiwan and Hong Kong, where it might have affected a larger number of people, but changed course as it approached land.

Read More: Not Everyone Can Afford to Evacuate for Hurricane Florence

Mangkhut ultimately struck Luzon,  the largest and most heavily populated island in the Philippines. It crossed over the island’s northern tip, a rural area responsible for the majority of the country’s rice production.

Remote rural areas often struggle to recover from disastrous weather events like Mangkhut. Though typhoons are common in the Southeast Asian country, the lack of infrastructure in these remote areas makes it difficult for humanitarian aid and relief efforts to reach those affected in the aftermath of major storms and landslides.

In total, Typhoon Mangkhut’s damage to China and the Philippines is predicted to cost more than $60 billion, according to Bloomberg.