Typhoon Hato: 16 dead; 27,000 evacuated as powerful storm pummels China

Typhoon Hato, the strongest typhoon to hit China, has left at least 16 dead in Macau and Mainland.

typhoon hato
Waves triggered by Typhoon Hato are seen in Hong Kong. Reuters

The strongest typhoon to hit southern China has left at least 16 people dead after its torrential rains and devastating winds wreaked havoc in the past three days.

According to a report from Agence France-Press, eight died in the gambling hub of Macau whilst others were from the neighbouring province of Guangdong in Mainland China.

Also read: Macau struggles to recover from Typhoon Hato's destruction

Time reported that the severe storm had an expected average speed of 73 mph, with maximum sustained winds hitting 107 mph with gusts of up to 139 mph.

Images from Macau showed cars submerged in water and people swimming along the streets. Meanwhile, around 27,000 in Guangdong were evacuated to temporary shelters. Around two million households suffered electricity blackouts.

Several footages show flood water gushing into an underground car park, with people treading through the neck-deep water littered with debris.

The AFP also reported that Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui has already made a public apology after the government came under fire for its delayed storm advisories. The head of the weather bureau has since resigned.

"These two days, we have faced an extremely difficult test together. Hato is the strongest typhoon in 53 years and has brought tremendous damage to Macau," Chui was quoted saying.

He added, "In facing this disaster, we admit we have not done enough, there is space for improvement. Here I represent the Macau government in expressing our apologies to the residents."

In Hong Kong, meteorologists raised severe Typhoon 10 warning as the storm began its onslaught. The last time a typhoon hit the highest signal was in July 2012.

A separate report from the South China Morning Post said the typhoon may cause around HK$4 billion to HK$8 billion damages to the city's economy.