Aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut reveals dangers of Philippines mining

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The strongest typhoon of the season swept the north of the island of Luzon on Saturday. Dozens of people sought shelter there during the storm despite warnings it was risky.

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. Three villagers who managed to escape told authorities what happened. Another bus "was sent to rescue the group and bring them back to their hotel", said the DFA. Numerous adults were in an abandoned bunkhouse, next to a chapel and home of a pastor and his family. About 291,000 were forced to flee their homes as the storm tore across the island of Luzon, an agricultural area in the archipelago's far north, with winds gusting up to 158 miles per hour, equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.

Mangkhut already is confirmed to have killed 66 people in the Philippines and four in China, where it weakened to a tropical storm as it churned inland Monday.

In Hong Kong, crews cleared fallen trees and other wreckage left from when the financial hub felt the full brunt of the storm Sunday.

The storm caused severe transportation disruptions, with almost 900 flights cancelled in Hong Kong on Sunday, stranding tens of thousands of passengers. "The storm slowed as it made landfall in mainland China's Pearl River Delta region". In the city's inner harbor district, the water level reached 1.5 meters (5 feet) on Sunday and was expected to rise further. For low-lying areas in the city, flood warnings have been issued.

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The consulate will continue to monitor the welfare of the 227,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong.

Flights via Shenzhen Airport were all cancelled on Sunday until 8 am Monday. Cities like Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai were also on high alert.

In the Philippines, rescuers for the Itogon landslide were hampered by rain and mud.

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan told reporters he had ordered the evacuation of residents but some, including the villagers who sought refuge in the chapel and bunkhouses, refused.

A Philippine national police report said the death toll as of Monday midday was 65, with 43 people missing and 64 injured.

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The couple and their six-year-old daughter Anabelle and one-year-old twins Charlie and Tom live on the ninth floor of an apartment block in Discovery Bay, which was badly damaged by the extreme weather.

Still, the Philippines appeared to have been spared the high number of casualties many had feared.

Cagayan Valley, the country's top corn producer and second rice producer, is the region hardest hit by the typhoon which struck just before the harvest season.

Gomez reported from Manila, Philippines.

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