Typhoon Mangkhut hit over the week end the Philippines but also Hong Kong and Macau. In the Philippines, the cyclone killed 65 people and caused heavy physical damage to infrastructure as well as to agriculture. Northern Luzon was particularly affected.
According to the latest reports from the Philippines, about 5.7 million people have been affected by the typhoon, the strongest to hit the disaster-prone country this year, the political affairs adviser Francis Tolentino to President Rodrigo Duterte. The political adviser however lauded authorities for good preparation of the country to face the strong typhoon and for response efforts. Some 100,000 people were evacuated to shelters.
It is the northern part of the Philippines which have been the most affected by the natural catastrophe, particularly the Cordillera area, at the Northern tip of Luzon island. Cordillera is home to one of the Philippines well-known tourism destination, the Banaue Rice Terraces- listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Damage and casualties affected the regional capital Baguio City with airports and roads being cut. The city – the main gateway to UNESCO Banaue terraces- was still isolated on Monday.
Most tragic was the disappearing of 40 people, mostly gold miners, as they became trapped in a landslide in the north of the country. Other parts of Northern Luzon such as Ilocos Sur and Ilocos del Norte provinces reported damage and casualties but to a less extent than in the Cordillera region.
Manila experienced limited damage. Several flights were canceled at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s largest air gateway. However according to Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), flights resume on Monday, the Bureau of Immigration and Bureau of Customs at the airport extending working hours to assist passengers whose flights were canceled due to the typhoon. Additional staff are deployed to assist passengers, especially the elderly and persons with disability.