Typhoon Megi regained strength and headed for southern China yesterday after wreaking havoc across the northern Philippines, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 15 people.
Chinese ports recalled vessels as Typhoon Megi looked set to make landfall on Saturday east of Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong observatory raised standby tropical cyclone signal No. 1 as Megi moved to within 800km of the financial hub.
The lives of more than 256,000 people were disrupted by the typhoon, which isolated coastal and mountain areas in the rice-producing northern Philippines, said Noel Lopez, provincial administrator of Isabela province. Many had been evacuated in the path of the storm.
Zambales in northwestern Luzon was declared a state of calamity because of flooding, while more than 200,000 tonnes of rice crops were destroyed in the storm.
“This is the worst typhoon to hit our province in nearly 20 years,” Lopez said, adding that 80 percent of houses in four coastal towns had been damaged or destroyed. “We’re thankful to the Lord because there was minimal losses in terms of lives.”
Oil platforms in the eastern part of the South China Sea were evacuated yesterday, a source said. Asia’s top oil refiner, China’s Sinopec Corp (中國石油化工集團), suspended some small volumes of fuel loading destined for Hong Kong, another source said.
Hong Kong’s Cable Television said a Taiwanese vessel had sunk in the storm and at least one sailor died.
About 2,500 fishing boasts in Haikou, the capital Hainan Province, had returned to harbor on Tuesday and the city of Sanya was taking down billboards, the China Daily said, to prevent injuries. Trains from the island had been halted.
Megi had winds in excess of 250kph when it hit Isabela province on Monday. It lost strength overland, only to pick up energy again from the warm sea waters west of the Philippines.
Tropical Storm Risk’s projections show the storm hitting the Chinese coast between Hong Kong and Zhangzhou later this week.
Flooding in Cambodia, meanwhile, claimed at least eight lives and wrought an estimated US$70 million in damage to roads, irrigation systems, bridges and homes, officials said.
“We hope for assistance from development partners, local and international charities,” Nhim Vanda, vice chairman of the National Committee for Disaster Management said.
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