Aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut reveals dangers of Philippines mining

Charlene Craig
September 20, 2018

Hong Kong escaped without any fatalities when the storm hit Sunday.

Consul General to Hong Kong Antonio Morales said "a Filipina tourist underwent leg surgery after she was hit by flying debris", while "another Filipina was also hurt by falling debris but needed no hospital treatment".

ITOGON, Philippines - They're eerie photographs, probably the final images of a few Filipino villagers standing placidly outside low-slung buildings a day before the green mountainside behind them collapsed on that spot.

As of Monday, local authorities told NBC News that they were searching for 56 people who were still missing. "I work with them", said miner Johnny Paggadut Jr. He expressed sadness that the villagers, many of them poor, had few options to survive in a region where big corporations have profited immensely from gold mines. "They were resisting when our police tried to pull them away".

"I really feel sad, I can not describe the emotion", he said.

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As the storm ripped through the Philippines, on September 15, footage emerged of the raging floodwaters that had wrecked homes and triggered landslides.

Food and drinking water are to be airlifted to Wilmington, a coastal city of 120,000 people, cut off by still-rising floodwaters.

A video posted online by residents showed the top corner of an old building break and fall off, while in another video, a tall building swayed as strong winds blew.

The storm skirted past China's semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, where Mangkhut's renewed winds reached 117mph, rattling skyscrapers, toppling trees, and tearing scaffolding from construction sites.

The paper said the heavy rains brought storm surges of 10 feet around Hong Kong. In the neighboring gambling enclave of Macau, all 42 casinos shut down for the first time in its history as the storm approached. The most severe damage was inflicted in Luzon's north, a sparsely populated region of the Philippines, causing a remarkable 51 landslides.

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The gusts weakened to 161 miles per hour when they blew out to the South China Sea, taking aim at southern China and Hong Kong. Hundreds of flights to Hong Kong and other airports were also canceled. Cities like Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai were also on high alert. While the rain had stopped, rising temperatures hampered rescue efforts.

Mangkhut left at least 81 people dead with 70 others missing in the Philippines, police said.

Rescuers are scrambling to dig up the landslide site, but they find at least 70 people who are still missing, majority buried alive by a landslide in the mining municipality of Itogon in Benguet province from the northern Philippines.

Out of those missing, 66 were registered in the Cordillera region where the mining town of Itogon, Benguet province, is located.

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