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Typhoon Mangkhut leaves path of destruction

The industry is anticipating insured losses from Typhoon Mangkhut to rise as clean-up operations begin.

With the storm barrelling deeper into southern China but beginning to weaken, so far property losses have been felt most acutely in Hong Kong and the neighbouring administrative region of Macau.

The typhoon struck the northern Philippines on Friday (14 September) at Category 5 strength, causing multiple landslides in the main island of Luzon and leaving more than 100 people missing or dead.

The storm moved on to hit mainland China at a strength of Category 1.

Pictures on social media showed widespread wind damage in Hong Kong and Macau, including commercial tower blocks with windows blown out and coastal houses flattened.

According to an update issued by the Hong Kong Observatory on Monday at 19:15 local time, the storm was set to move further inland at a speed of 20 km/h before swinging to the northwest.

The storm is now a tropical depression and is continuing to weaken.

Concerns were raised over two major nuclear power plants – the Taishan nuclear power plant and Yangjiang nuclear power station – located in the coastal province of Guangdong, which was lashed by the storm before it moved inland.

Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television said the storm had caused more than 200 million yuan ($29.1mn) of damage in Guangdong.

Meanwhile, flights at Hong Kong’s international airport were returning to normal on Monday after more than 900 delays or cancellations.

According to CNN, houses and businesses in Hong Kong’s seaside neighbourhood of Heng Fa Chuen were flooded and damaged by high winds and flying debris.

Leisure facilities including seaside bars and a golf course were damaged by flooding, while a former elementary school that was being converted to a library was completely flattened.

Videos posted on social media showed commercial tower blocks with glass blown out, trees toppling, scaffolding collapsing and a crane falling off a building at a construction site.

Hong Kong Disneyland and Hong Kong Ocean Park were also shut for clean-up operations.

The nearby region of Macau was damaged by heavy flooding and local residents were evacuated from areas flooded in the sustained downpour.

Macau’s casino industry was also forced to suspend operations for 33 hours in a shutdown that could cost operators as much as $186mn in forgone revenue, Bloomberg reported.

A sinkhole opened up on Macau’s main Avenue dos Jogos da Asia Oriental highway as a result of the heavy rains and multiple shops were flooded.

Concerns over agricultural losses in the Philippines also remain, with only about a fifth of produce having been harvested before the typhoon struck, according to a political adviser speaking to the BBC.

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