Typhoon Mangkhut has lashed the northern Philippines, with powerful winds and rain setting off landslides and destroying homes.
The extreme weather left at least three people dead and six missing, as the storm made its way towards southern China.
The most powerful typhoon to hit the disaster-prone Philippines this year slammed ashore before dawn in Cagayan province on the north-eastern tip of Luzon island, a region of flood-prone rice plains and mountain provinces with a history of deadly landslides.
China and the Philippines agreed to postpone a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that was to start on Sunday due to the onslaught, which caused nearly 150 flights, a third of them international, to be cancelled and halted sea travel.
At least three people died and six others were missing in the mountain city of Baguio after ferocious winds and rain destroyed several houses and set off landslides, which also blocked roads to the popular holiday destination, said the city’s mayor, Mauricio Domogan.
Authorities were verifying the drownings of three people, including two children who reportedly died as the typhoon approached.
They were also checking to see what happened to about 70 men who reportedly returned to their coastal village in Cagayan to check on their homes as the typhoon drew closer on Friday, sparking concerns over possible storm surges.
Mangkhut’s sustained winds weakened to 170 105 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 161 mph, after it struck north-westward across Luzon then blew out to the South China Sea, aiming at southern China and Hong Kong, where residents braced for the worst.
With the weather easing, officials warned there was lingering danger.
“It’s still a life and death situation,” Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, citing past drownings in swollen rivers in mountain provinces after storms have passed.
Storm warnings remained in 10 northern provinces, including Cagayan, which could still be lashed by devastating winds, forecasters said. Thousands of people in the typhoon’s path had been evacuated.