Typhoon Mangkhut Case Study
What caused Typhoon Mangkhut?
Typhoon Mangkhut was the world’s strongest storm of 2018, leaving a destruction path through the Philipines, Hong Kong and China. The storm, named after the Thai word for the mangosteen fruit, was upgraded to a typhoon and later to a severe typhoon. The storm was classified as a super typhoon. Super typhoon Mangkhut would be considered a strong Category 5 storm in the Atlantic Ocean.
The storm originated in the western Pacific. Its entire track was over the water of the warmest seas globally, in the eastern Philippines. The more time a typhoon spends above water, the more energy it sucks in and the stronger it gets.
Preparation and Mitigation
How did the Philipines prepare?
The Philipines issued storm warnings in dozens of provinces, and sea and air travel were restricted. Unlike previous typhoons such as Typhoon Haiyan that killed 6190 people in 2013, more residents took the evacuation seriously, and many thousands sought safety.
Flights were cancelled, schools were closed, and the government placed the army on standby.
Authorities issued warnings that heavy rains could trigger landslides and flash floods.
More than 9,000 people were evacuated to shelters.
Many people made attempts to protect their property which included tying roofs down.
Farmers worked around the clock to harvest their rice paddies. Although the rice was not ripe, farmers attempted to salvage what they could before the storm struck.
Authorities told people to move on. Some cars left the area, bedding on the roof – but some people wanted to stay inside their homes to prevent thieves from entering.
More than four million people were directly in the path of the storm, leading to thousands’ evacuation.
Officials warned of storm surges of up to 6m (20ft) and “very heavy damage” to vulnerable structures.
The Government raised alert levels to the second-highest – signal four – in Cagayan, northern Isabela, Apayao and Abra provinces.
Medical and emergency response teams were on standby, and ₱1,700,000,000 (£24 million) worth of relief goods were prepared by 13 September 2018.
How did China prepare?
In China, the authorities raised storm alerts to “red”, the top-level on the four-tier warning system. More than 2.5 million were evacuated in Guangdong and on Hainan island.
What were the primary effects of Typhoon Mangkhut?
With maximum sustained winds of up to 240km/h (149mph) near its centre, this put it on par with a Category 5 hurricane, the highest on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale for tropical cyclones in the western hemisphere. With a massive rain band 900km wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the storm brought heavy rains that led to flash floods and landslides. At least 95 people died as the result of the storm in the Philipines.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) estimated that Mangkhut caused 21.2 billion pesos (£297 million) in damages in the Philippines, with assessments continuing.
Storm Surge Flooding
Dozens of people were buried alive. At least 22 died after a landslide engulfed two villages in the Philippines, triggered by the extreme weather conditions in the aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut. At least 30 houses were crushed under earth and rubble when a hillside collapsed in Naga, Cebu province. 33 miners were confirmed dead and at least 29 missing after a landslide hit a mining site in Itogon in Benguet province, according to local reports. Trapped survivors sent texts for help.
In Hong Kong, high-rise buildings swayed, and windows shattered when the typhoon made landfall. Transport services were suspended, with flights cancelled, trains stopped, and major roads closed. Vegetable prices soared in Hong Kong as the storm approached. Officials put the number of injured in Hong Kong at more than 200. Despite avoiding a direct hit, winds there reached more than 110mph and as water levels surged by almost 3.5m (12ft) in places. Authorities had issued their maximum alert, warning residents to stay indoors and away from windows to avoid flying debris. Most shops and public services were shut, and about 900 flights were cancelled at Hong Kong International Airport.
At least six people died in China as a result of the typhoon.
A storm surge struck the southern coast of China.
What were the secondary effects of Typhoon Mangkhut?
There is concern over the typhoon’s economic cost, which has caused extensive damage to farmland in Cagayan, a key agricultural province in the Philipines. Francis Tolentino, a political adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, told the BBC that he estimated only a fifth of produce there had been harvested in advance – threatening staples like rice and corn.
In Hong Kong, the province’s total economic losses exceeded ¥4.2 billion (£464 million). The entire financial losses across China are estimated at ¥5.3 billion (£586 million)
What were the immediate responses?
A range of charitable organisations established campaigns to raise funds to support those affected by Typhoon Mangkhut, including World Vision and Global Giving.
In the Philipines, provincial and municipal authorities led disaster response and relief efforts with the support of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) field offices and the Philippine Red Cross.
The United Nations Population Fund offered support to the Philippine government.
UNICEF provided emergency supplies for about 12,500 families to respond to needs for safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, education, and child protection.
What were the long-term responses?