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'So far we've been lucky': Yukoner connects with family in Philippines after typhoon hits

Many Filipinos in the Yukon kept a close eye on Typhoon Mangkhut over the weekend, as it killed at least 65 people since hitting the Philippines.

Typhoon Mangkhut has killed at least 65 people since it struck the country this weekend

A man uses a water container to shield him from rain brought about by Typhoon Mangkhut as it barreled across the Cagayan province in northeastern Philippines on Saturday. (Aaron Favila/Associated Press)

Yukoner Aurora Viernes has family living on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, near the area where Typhoon Mangkhut is said to have hit the hardest since striking the country this weekend.

There were a few days when the power was knocked out and she lost contact with her family, she said, but she has since been able to connect with them through social media. 

"So far we've been lucky," said Viernes, adding her family and friends are OK, except for some damage to roofs in the area.

However, not everyone fared so well. Many Filipinos in the Yukon kept a close eye on Typhoon Mangkhut over the weekend, as it killed at least 65 people. 

Stronger than Hurricane Florence

"It's very sad," said Yvonne Clarke, president of the Canadian Filipino Association of the Yukon, which represents more than 4,000 Filipinos living in the territory.

"The Philippines is an overpopulated country and [has] a lot of poor people who live in shanties. That is why they're very vulnerable when there are typhoons."

With wind gusts at one point reaching 305 kilometres an hour, Typhoon Mangkhut was stronger than Hurricane Florence, which lashed out against the U.S. East Coast last week. 

Many of the deaths have been caused by mudslides in areas with deforestation, said Clarke. 

Rescue crews in the Philippines are still searching for dozens of people buried in a landslide set off by the typhoon, but a local mayor said it's doubtful anyone will be found alive.

After rolling out of the Philippines, Mangkhut hit China's southern coast as a tropical storm, where it killed at least four people. The Hong Kong Observatory said it was the most powerful cyclone to hit the city since 1979.

The Canadian Filipino Association of the Yukon will be accepting donations for victims of Typhoon Mangkhut at its annual general meeting on Sept. 22. 

With files from Sandi Coleman and the Associated Press

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