Super typhoon Rammasun hits southern China, kills one

One person was killed as the strongest typhoon to hit southern Chinese island of Hainan in 40 years made landfall today, after claiming 64 lives and leaving a trail of destruction in neighbouring Philippines.

Beijing: One person was killed as the strongest typhoon to hit southern Chinese island of Hainan in 40 years made landfall today, after claiming 64 lives and leaving a trail of destruction in neighbouring Philippines.

Rammasun -- a Thai word for "Thunder God" -- made the landfall in Wengtian town on Hainan this afternoon packing winds of up to 216 km per hour and bringing torrential rain.

A man was killed after he was hit by the debris when his house collapsed, Wenchang mayor Liu Chunmei told state-run Xinhua news agency.

Xu Quanzhun, head officer of the public security branch in the town, told the news agency that the number of casualties could rise, as the branch received dozens of distress calls before power supply to the area was terminated.

All the roads in the town are either flooded or blocked and the branch office is also hemmed in by water. "Some rescuers are on their way to places in need of help, but I have lost contact with them too," said Xu.

More than 6,900 passengers have been affected after 184 flights were cancelled. So far over 210,000 residents in Hainan have been evacuated, the provincial command centre for flood prevention said.

The provincial tourism bureau has asked all tourism resorts to close and tour bus companies to suspend operations.

Hainan has shut down its airports, railway stations, bus stations and ports. As the typhoon swept along, torrential rain flooded farmland and wind-whipped trees blocked roads. Vehicles, trapped on a main road of the town, were shaken by the wind and people forced to remain indoors.

Heavy machineries have been deployed to clear the roads in the town. Before reaching China, Rammasun barrelled through the northern Philippines on Wednesday, drenching its capital Manila, a megacity of more than 12 million people, and knocking out power to whole provinces. Authorities today raised the death toll to 64.
The typhoon is likely to hit the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region tonight. Hainan`s governor Jiang Dingzhi has asked local officials to give priority to people`s safety. In addition, governments should prepare for possible geographical disasters such as landslides, he said.
Rammasun is likely to replace Sally, which wreaked havoc in 1996, as the strongest typhoon to hit the province.

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