Typhoon Hits Hong Kong And Southern China

Sep 16, 2018
Originally published on September 16, 2018 10:00 am
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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

To Asia now, where we're following another devastating storm this morning. Typhoon Mangkhut, which left more than 20 people dead in the Philippines, has made landfall in Guangdong Province in China, where Chinese state media say more than 2 million people have been evacuated. Though the storm winds have weakened overnight, gusts are still as much as 100 mph. With us now to describe the scene is Dan Strumpf of The Wall Street Journal, who lives in Hong Kong. Thanks for joining us.

DAN STRUMPF: Hi. Good morning.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good morning. So describe the scene. I mean, that's a lot of wind coming into a very populated part of China.

STRUMPF: Well, no doubt it's a tremendously powerful typhoon, certainly, the strongest typhoon that I've seen in my three years living in Hong Kong. Looking out the window, I mean, this typhoon has been raging all day. I mean, even now towards the end of my day here - Sunday night - the trees are still swaying heavily. The rain is practically horizontal.

I live on one of the outlying islands just about a 15-minute boat ride from Hong Kong. And I'm actually, for all intents and purposes, stranded here until they resume ferry service. And it's just debris everywhere, knocked-over trees, power lines, plants and branches. You name it, it's just - it's quite a mess out there.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What have you heard about how people have been affected? Have there been any deaths, rescues?

STRUMPF: As far as I know, there haven't been any deaths reported yet, quite a few - a couple dozen injuries as far as I've been able to see so far. Certainly, though, the damage is undoubtedly intense. There's images all over social media - pretty widespread flooding, shattered windows, even buildings swaying in the wind.

You know, Hong Kong is known for some pretty towering, iconic skyscrapers. And although this is a city that is used to dealing with severe weather like this pretty much every year, it seems like this storm has really dealt quite a blow to the city.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Half a million people evacuated. That is an enormous movement of people. Where did they go? And how effective has it been?

STRUMPF: Well, that's a great question. I mean, a lot of those people probably wind up going inland. I mean, you know, this is a coastal region of China. You've got millions of people inhabiting a broader urban area known as the Pearl River Delta. Hong Kong sits just south of that. But just north of us is Shenzhen, which is a city of about 20 million people. And then north of that is Guangzhou, which is another city of several million people, and then a number of cities surrounding those cities, which are quite large. So it's a continuous urban area.

And so, you know, it's a quite a project to evacuate a lot of those people. That said, you know, it was a stroke of luck, in a way, that this storm actually didn't make a direct hit on Hong Kong, unlike the Philippines, which did sustain a direct hit, which, as you said, has seen quite a few deaths because of that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The Wall Street Journal's Dan Strumpf. Thank you so much, and stay safe.

STRUMPF: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.