Typhoon Haima kills 12 in Philippines, disrupts life in Hong Kong
Typhoon Haima, the strongest storm to hit the Philippines in three years, killed at least 12 people and inundated vast tracts of rice and corn fields, officials in Manila said on Friday, before it shifted toward Hong Kong.
Philippine authorities said they were assessing the extent of damage to infrastructure and crops, but confirmed that thousands of hectares of farmland were destroyed in northern provinces.
Eight of the victims were from the Cordillera region, said Ricardo Jalad, chief of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, citing reports the agency received from provincial officials.
Meanwhile, the usually frenetic streets of Hong Kong were deserted on Friday as the city was battered by Typhoon Haima, after the storm left a trail of deaths and damage in the Philippines.
More than 700 flights in and out of Hong Kong were cancelled or delayed, roads were clear of cars and pavements empty, with schools and offices shut as the storm passed east of the city and hit southern mainland China.
Trading on the city’s stock exchange was also cancelled for the day.
As Haima swept past Hong Kong in the early afternoon, trees were felled by winds, and waves crashed over coastal roads. The Hong Kong Observatory has issued a Number 8 storm signal Friday – the third-highest warning level.
Red alert in China
China has issued a red alert and closed down offices, businesses and schools in the southern city of Shenzhen as Typhoon Haima is expected to hit on Friday, local officials said. The Shenzhen’s Meteorological Observatory predicted that Haima will bring winds of up to 117 km per hour and rainfall exceeding 100 millimetres. Residents have been advised to stay indoors. Safe locations have been set up across the city for anyone who might get caught out.
Shenzhen in Guangdong Province will activate China’s highest level of emergency response measures, starting midnight, to prepare for the country’s 22nd typhoon this year, Xinhua news agency reported. Red alert is the highest response followed by orange, yellow and blue.