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Typhoon hits China with strong winds, rain

07 October 2013, 08:28

Beijing - A typhoon slammed into south-eastern China on Monday with powerful winds and heavy rains that killed two people, cut power, cancelled flights and suspended train services.

Typhoon Fitow struck Fuding city of Fujian province with winds of up to 151km an hour in the early morning hours, then slowed before weakening to a tropical storm, the National Meteorological Centre said.

More than half a million people had been evacuated and fishing boats were called back to shore while authorities issued a red alert - the highest warning - on Sunday as the typhoon approached.

The provincial flood relief agency in Zhejiang, which neighbours Fujian, said 574 000 people had been evacuated by Sunday evening and 35 800 vessels returned to shore. Fujian's government said 177 000 people had been moved to safety and nearly 30 000 fishing boats called back.

The typhoon cut power in towns and counties in Zhejiang province while high-speed rail services in the region were suspended. At least 27 flights out of Wenzhou airport in Zhejiang were cancelled on Sunday, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Xinhua said two people were killed in Wenzhou, including a 55-year-old man who was blown off a hill while heading out to help rescue a stranded fisherman. Calls to the city's flood relief agency and other government and Communist Party offices rang unanswered on Monday.

The typhoon began dumping heavy and torrential rain across the south-eastern seaboard, with rainfall of up to 29cm in some parts as well as gusty winds.

Before striking China, Fitow skirted the northern coast of Taiwan, causing many flight disruptions and dumping large quantities of rain on the island, but resulting in only minimal damage and no casualties.

Officials said it delayed or cancelled more than 200 domestic and international flights, and brought about the evacuation of several hundred people from northern Taiwanese communities considered vulnerable to rain-induced mudslides.

Elsewhere in Asia, a typhoon east of the northern Philippines blew away with no impact on the country.

- AP


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