Two typhoons lash China; over a million evacuated

More than a million people were evacuated to safe places as gales and rainstorms triggered by two typhoons lashed east China`s coastal regions.

Updated: Aug 03, 2012, 16:36 PM IST

Beijing: More than a million people were evacuated to safe places as gales and rainstorms triggered by two typhoons lashed east China`s coastal regions leaving at least one person dead, authorities said on Friday.

Strong tropical storm Saola, weakening from a typhoon, caused mudslides in Fuding city of southeastern Fujian province today, Fujian Provincial Meteorological Station said.

The cyclone is expected to move northwest at a speed of 15 to 20 km per hour, bringing heavy rains to the northern part of Fujian and inland province of Jiangxi later in the day, the station said.

About three lakh residents in Fujian had been relocated to safe places, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted local officials as saying.

Saola previously made landfall in Hualien, Taiwan, bringing heavy rains and forcing most schools and offices on the island to close.

As Saola was pounding the southeastern coast, Damrey, the 10th typhoon of the year, caused havoc near Xiangshui county in east China`s Jiangsu province.

The storm brought torrential rains to Jiangsu and the southern coastal areas of Shandong province this morning, with the highest rainfall reaching 174 mm in Rizhao city of Shandong, local meteorological authorities said.

As of early morning, the storm left one person dead, some 5.5 lakh people affected and 23,723 houses damaged in Rizhao with the direct economic losses amounting to USD 83.1 million.

It also forced the relocation of 26,300 residents, according to Rizhao`s civil affairs bureau.

Shandong province relocated 1.68 lakh people to safe places and ordered over 40,000 ships to return to harbour this morning, the provincial department of civil affairs said.

Twenty-nine flights were cancelled at the Qingdao Liuting International Airport last night. However, no flights were affected this morning, the airport said.

At least four trains from the city of Yanzhou to Rizhao in Shandong were delayed as a result of the storm.

It is rare to see two typhoons making landfall in China within 24 hours, said Zhang Chang`an, deputy director of the typhoon and marine meteorology centre of the China Meteorological Administration.

This is only the second time that China has braced for dual typhoons at almost the same time since 1949.

In 2006, Typhoon Bopha and Typhoon Saomai hit the country successively, causing severe losses, according to Zhang.

Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday urged local governments to make full preparations for the approaching typhoons, so as to ensure safety of both the residents and properties.

By this morning, Saola and Damrey had forced evacuation of 2.04 lakh residents in Zhejiang, 1.68 Lakh in Shangdong and 89,000 in Jiangsu, according to the National Commission for Disaster Reduction and Ministry of Civil Affairs.