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Beijing/Hong Kong: Typhoon Mangkhut, the world’s most powerful storm this year, skidded into mainland China on Sunday after claiming at least 59 lives in the Philippines and pummeling Hong Kong and Macau during a devastating churn across the tropical-storm prone region.

In the Philippines, rescuers searched for victims of landslides responsible for most of the deaths there.

In Hong Kong, emergency workers began cutting away trees that fell in major roadways, as the city began what will be a major cleanup.

Mangkhut is now expected to move inland of China's western Guangdong on Monday. While the storm has weakened, a T8 warning was still in place into Sunday evening — meaning that winds with speeds of about 63 kph were expected, CNN reported.

The storm has carved a deadly trail across the region, killing two people in southern China and at least 54 people in the Philippines, with more than 250,000 people affected.

Many of the Philippines' deaths were caused by landslides, with dozens more still believed to be buried beneath the deluge, government officials said at a news conference on Sunday.

Evacuation

More than 2.45 million people have been evacuated in Guangdong as Mangkhut made landfall on Sunday night, according to Chinese state media.

Some 18,327 emergency shelters had been activated in the province, and that 632 tourism and 29,611 construction sites had been shut down.

As Mangkhut moved toward the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong was also buffeted by fierce winds that tore off roofs, downed trees and caused cranes perched atop half-built skyscrapers to swing ominously.

Hong Kong's weather observatory issued its highest storm warning alert — a signal T10 — and the normally bustling city was all but shut down as transport was suspended and torrential rain flooded roads and buildings.

Winds of 173 kph and gusts of up to 223 kph were reported, stronger than Hurricane Florence that hit North Carolina over the weekend.

There were no reported deaths in Hong Kong.

Flights cancelled

More than 1,200 flights were cancelled in Hong Kong on Sunday.

Meanwhile, airports in Shenzhen, a technology hub across the border from Hong Kong, and on the resort island of Hainan also cancelled all flights.

Earlier, hurricane force of Mangkhut has sent buildings swaying in Hong Kong, while horrified residents scampered for safer ground as high-rise windows are smashed.

■ Hong Kong on lockdown as Mangkhut arrives
Emirates, Etihad cancel Hong Kong flights


Residents huddled indoors Sunday as strong wind sent debris flying as Typhoon Mangkhut arrived. 

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said in a statement that it was expecting "severe disruptions"  and won't resume operations until 4 am Monday.

The airline has canceled more than 400 flights. Cathay Dragon and Hong Kong Airlines also grounded their fleets on Sunday.