Super typhoon Mangkhut hit the Chinese mainland on Sunday after leaving at least 25 people dead in the Philippines. The storm gained strength over the South China Sea after striking the Philippines on Saturday, with winds rising to 200km per hour and water surging as much as 3.5m in Hong Kong.

Two emergency workers and a child were the first reported fatalities of the powerful storm in the Philippines, which was hit by gusts of up to 250kph.

Francis Tolentino, an adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, told the FT in a telephone interview that most of the deaths were landslide-rated, and took place in remote, isolated areas. One person died while chopping off branches from trees damaged in the storm, he said.

“In the direct path of the typhoon, there were zero casualties,” Mr Tolentino said. However, he said, casualties had been caused by landslides “in mountainous areas, due to erosion and water saturation”.

Mr Tolentino said authorities were searching for another 11 missing people.

The typhoon made landfall in China late Sunday morning, forcing an almost complete shutdown of several mega-cities, including Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai. Most flights in and out of Hong Kong and nearby Shenzhen were cancelled on Sunday.

In an historic first, Macau’s famed casinos were ordered to close on Saturday night and remain shut until city authorities give the all clear.

The Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said early on Sunday that 250,000 people in that country had been affected by the storm.

It said more than 250 domestic and international flights had been grounded due to bad weather and 141 areas in the affected regions had experienced power outages. It said nearly 800 boats and more than 4,200 passengers in different parts of the Philippines had been stranded by the storm.

Mr Duterte was due to fly to areas affected by the storm on Sunday morning.

Ricardo Jalad, head of the Philippines’ disaster response body, told local media on Saturday that two first responders died while rescuing residents in the northern Cordillera Administrative Region of Luzon, the archipelago nation’s largest island.

Philippine police said the body of a child was found floating under a bridge in Pasig City, part of metropolitan Manila. 

The Philippine meteorological agency Pagasa said the storm, which the US Navy earlier this week classified as a super typhoon, had weakened slightly on Saturday as it moved in a west northwesterly direction.

Thousands of people were evacuated from areas in the mostly agricultural north-west of the Philippines this week ahead of the typhoon, which Filipinos had worried might wreak damage on the scale of Typhoon Haiyan, the country’s deadliest storm on record, which killed at least 6,000 people in 2013. 

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