Super typhoon slams into China after pummelling Philippines

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A resident walks beside a toppled basketball court after Typhoon Mangkhut barreled across Tuguegarao city, northeastern Philippines, on Sept. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
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An overturned tricycle is seen next to a destroyed house after Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit the town of Alcala, Cagayan province on September 15, 2018. (AFP / TED ALJIBE)
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Residents stand by a flooded road following the onslaught of Typhoon Mangkhut in Tuguegarao city in Cagayan province, northeastern Philippines, on Sept. 15, 2018.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
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People buy water and food at a supermarket ahead of the arrival of the Super Typhoon Mangkhut in Zhanjiang in Guangdong province on September 15, 2018. (AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI)
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A dog and a duck sit among the ruins of a house after Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit the town of Alcala, Cagayan province, in the northern Philippines on September 15, 2018. (AFP / TED ALJIBE)
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Fishermen take their boat of the water with a crane ahead of the arrival of the Super Typhoon Mangkhut in Sanhe village on the outskirts of Zhanjiang in Guangdong province, China, on September 15, 2018. ( AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI)
Updated 16 September 2018

Super typhoon slams into China after pummelling Philippines

  • More than 105,000 people fled their homes in the largely rural agricultural region, which is one of the Philippines' top producers of corn and rice
  • Cathay Pacific warned travelers that it expected more than 400 flight cancelations over the next three days

TUGUEGARAO, Philippines: Typhoon Mangkhut rocked Hong Kong before striking mainland China on Sunday, injuring scores and sending skyscrapers swaying, after killing at least 49 people in the Philippines and ripping a swathe of destruction through its agricultural heartland.

The world's biggest storm this year left large expanses in the north of the main Philippine island of Luzon underwater as fierce winds tore trees from the ground and rain unleashed dozens of landslides.

It made landfall on the coast of Jiangmen city, in southern China's Guangdong province, Sunday evening after battering Hong Kong.

Hong Kong weather authorities issued their maximum alert for the storm, which hit the city with gusts of more than 230 kilometres per hour (142 mph) and left over 100 injured, according to government figures.

As the storm passed south of Hong Kong, trees were snapped in half and roads blocked, while some windows in tower blocks were smashed and skyscrapers swayed, as they are designed to do in intense gales.

The Philippines was just beginning to count the cost of the typhoon which hit northern Luzon on Saturday, and the death toll jumped to 49 on Sunday evening as more landslide victims were discovered.

In the town of Baggao the typhoon demolished houses, tore off roofs and downed power lines. Some roads were cut off by landslides and many remained submerged.

Farms across northern Luzon, which produces much of the nation's rice and corn, were sitting under muddy floodwater, their crops ruined just a month before harvest.

"We're already poor and then this happened to us. We have lost hope," 40-year-old Mary Anne Baril, whose corn and rice crops were spoilt, told AFP.

"We have no other means to survive," she said tearfully.

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people.

The latest victims were mostly people who died in landslides, including a family of four. In addition to those killed in the Philippines, a woman was swept out to sea in Taiwan.

The Philippines' deadliest storm on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central part of the country in November 2013.

In Hong Kong, waters surged in the famous Victoria Harbour and coastal fishing villages, from which hundreds of residents were evacuated to storm shelters.

Some roads were waist-deep in water with parts of the city cut off by floods and fallen trees.

In the fishing village of Tai O, where many people live in stilt houses built over the sea, some desperately tried to bail out their inundated homes.

"Floodwater is rushing into my home but I'm continuously shovelling the water out. It's a race against time," resident Lau King-cheung told AFP by phone.

The government warned people to stay indoors but some ventured out, heading to the coast to take photos.

A couple with a child were seen by an AFP reporter taking pictures on a pier known as a popular Instagram spot as waves surged and almost submerged it.

Others stayed at home but were terrified by smashing windows in their apartments.

"The entire floor and bed are covered in glass," one resident told local broadcaster TVB after her bedroom window shattered. "The wind is so strong."

Almost all flights in and out of Hong Kong were cancelled.

Schools in the city will be shut Monday.

In the neighbouring gambling enclave of Macau, all 42 casinos shut down for the first time in its history.

As the storm moved past Macau to the south, streets became submerged under water gushing in from the harbour.

Emergency workers navigated the roads on jetskis and dinghies, rescuing trapped residents.

The government and casinos are taking extra precautions after Macau was battered by Typhoon Hato last year, which left 12 dead.

On China's southern coast, more than two million people had been evacuated by authorities in Guangdong before the storm made landfall. 


US women detained for speaking Spanish sue border agency

In this Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, photo provided by the ACLU of Montana, Martha Hernandez, left, and Ana Suda pose in front of a convenience store in Havre, Mont., where they say they were detained by a U.S Border Patrol agent for speaking Spanish last year. (AP)
Updated 44 min 29 sec ago

US women detained for speaking Spanish sue border agency

  • The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the women, who live in Havre

LOS ANGELES: Two US women detained by a border patrol agent in the state of Montana after he heard them speaking Spanish in a grocery store have sued the country’s border protection agency.
Video of the incident — which took place last May in the small town of Havre — showed Agent Paul O’Neal tell Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez that he had asked to see their identification as it was unusual to hear Spanish speakers in the state, which borders Canada.
“It has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store in a state where it’s predominately English speaking,” he said.
“It’s not illegal, it’s just very unheard of up here,” he told the women.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the women, who live in Havre.
Suda and Hernandez say in the lawsuit that O’Neal detained them for 40 minutes.
California native Hernandez and Suda, who was born in Texas, said they were standing in line to buy milk and eggs when the agent — who was standing behind them — commented on Hernandez’s accent, and asked the women where they were born.
“I asked, ‘Are you serious’?” Suda said, according to the lawsuit. “Agent O’Neal responded that he was ‘dead serious’.”
The two women say they were then asked to show identification and questioned outside the store, before eventually being released.
“The incident itself is part of a broader pattern that we’ve seen of abusive tactics by border patrol which has gotten worse since the Trump administration, which has left border patrol officers feeling emboldened to take actions like this,” Cody Wofsy, an attorney with the ACLU, told AFP.
“This has been devastating for (Suda and Hernandez),” he added.
“Havre is a small town, they felt ostracized and humiliated and made to feel unwelcome in their own town and in their own country.”
He noted the United States has no official language, with Spanish by far the most common language spoken after English.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to comment on the case.
“As a matter of policy, US Customs and Border Protection does not comment on pending litigation,” he told AFP in a statement. “However, lack of comment should not be construed as agreement or stipulation with any of the allegations.”