Mangkhut Downgraded to Tropical Storm as Death Toll Rises in Philippines, China

Mangkhut Downgraded to Tropical Storm as Death Toll Rises in Philippines, China
The Pacific storm Mangkhut, which left a trail of death and destruction in its path from the Philippines to southern China, has been downgraded from a typhoon to a tropical storm.

Chinese state media say four people have been killed in Guangdong, China's most populous province, raising the death toll from the powerful storm to at least 69 people. More than 2.4 million people had been evacuated from Guangdong ahead of Mangkhut's arrival.

The majority of the fatalities occurred in the Philippines, where several bodies were discovered in the rubble of a landslide in the town of Itogon on the main island of Luzon. Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said the victims were miners and their families who had taken shelter inside a chapel.

Mangkhut made its first landfall in the Philippines Saturday, pounding the northern tip of Luzon Island with winds of 270 kilometers per hour that ripped the tin roofs off homes and knocked out power lines.

Farms across Luzon, the Philippines largest island, are under floodwaters. Luzon farms produce most of the country's rice and corn. Now, however, their crops have been ruined just a month before harvest. 

Authorities in Hong Kong have begun totaling up the damage left behind by Mangkhut, which struck the territory with winds of more than 230 kilometers an hour, prompting officials to declare a Number 10 storm warning, its highest alert. 

The storm blew out windows in skyscrapers, pulled trees up by their roots and scattered them across streets, and affected all modes of transportation. 

Macau, China's gaming center, was forced shut down all its casinos for the first time its history Sunday as Mangkhut approached. The government said in a statement: "The suspension is for the safety of casino employees, visitors to the city and residents."