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Residents check in on storm-hit families

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Island residents from countries battered by major storms said yesterday they continued to monitor reports from their homelands on the damage.

Typhoon Mangkhut has claimed more than 60 lives in the northern Philippines and Hurricane Florence was blamed for at least 20 deaths on the American East Coast.

But the Association of Filipinos in Bermuda said it appeared that none of the island's Filipinos had been directly affected by the tragedies in their homeland, but that they continued to monitor updates.

Landslides were thought to have caused most of the deaths after the typhoon lashed the main island of Luzon over the weekend.

A spokeswoman for the association said: “With regards to the Filipinos who are here, we haven't heard anybody whose family died, which is most important, but we're just relying on the news.

“It was the northernmost, the mountainous regions of the country that were most heavily affected.”

She added: “It's a mining spot, that's where the flash flooding happened.”

The spokeswoman said there was “a sense of concern”, although the destruction has not been as bad as that caused by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which killed more than 6,000 people.

She added: “Of course, we feel bad about what's happening now as well as in other parts of Asia. We saw that Hong Kong was also heavily pummelled by the storm.

“We're praying for our fellow man in the Philippines.”

Josh Ball, a former journalist at The Royal Gazette now based in Hong Kong, said he felt “lucky” as he “rode out the storm” on the 18th floor of Tower One at Times Square in the retail heart of Causeway Bay.

He said: “The storm was a pretty big one — it is actually one of the most powerful to ever hit the city.

“There was some pretty serious damage done to low-lying areas with storm surge ... flooding, destruction of ferry piers. People were evacuated beforehand, but some refused to leave.

“I saw one picture of a boat in the middle of what used to be the golf course at the Shek O Golf and Country Club.”

Mr Ball said floods affected several hotels near the sea and trees were “down all over the place”.

He added about 40,000 people were left without power overnight on Sunday.

Mr Ball said: “The city has a warning system from one to ten. It was at eight until 5.20am on Monday.”

He added: “A couple of times it felt like the windows in my building might give, but they didn't.

“At least I wasn't in one of the buildings designed to sway with the wind. That looked pretty unnerving.

“Damage near us was restricted to trees down and sides of buildings coming away.”

Florence, now downgraded to a tropical depression, has dumped up to 40 inches of rain on parts of North Carolina since Thursday and continued to produce widespread heavy rain over much of the state, as well as eastern South Carolina.

The Associated Press reported yesterday that officials were still worried as heavy rain continued and rivers threatened to burst their banks.

The agency said several people who died in recent days were swept up in stormwaters and three small children have been killed, two of them by falling trees.

Jerrard Polk, from Warwick, originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, yesterday said his family there were “doing well”.

He added: “They have followed the precautions of the authorities to stay inside and off the roads.

“There has been heavy rains today and into tomorrow, so some streets are flooding in the city.

Mr Polk said: “Our friends on the coast have all evacuated.”

Knocked over: a former Bermuda resident has taken this photograph of damage from Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong (Photograph by Josh Ball)
Typhoon damage in Hong Kong (Photograph by Josh Ball)

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Published September 18, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 18, 2018 at 2:15 pm)

Residents check in on storm-hit families

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