Thu, Aug 09, 2012 - Page 1 News List

China battered by Typhoon Haikui

AFP and Reuters, SHANGHAI and MANILA

A typhoon slammed into eastern China yesterday, the country’s third in a week, killing at least two people and causing more than US$1 billion in damage, state media said.

Typhoon Haikui made landfall early yesterday morning in Zhejiang Province south of Shanghai, after authorities moved nearly 2 million people to safety, Xinhua news agency reported.

Shanghai media reported that glass falling from a building killed a 57-year-old woman and the collapse of a small chemical factory led to the death of a young boy sheltering inside with his family.

The Zhejiang and Shanghai governments had yet to officially report any deaths or injuries.

The typhoon quickly weakened after landing south of Ningbo City, the China Meteorological Administration said, but warned that Haikui was still packing winds of 119kph.

The storm had cut off electricity to nearly 400,000 households in Zhejiang, Xinhua said.

The typhoon flooded crops and caused at least 6.8 billion yuan (US$1.1 billion) in direct economic damage in Zhejiang, the provincial government estimated.

Haikui did not make a direct hit on Shanghai, but the city raised its most severe typhoon signal shortly before midday yesterday and urged people to stay home.

The typhoon knocked down trees, halted hundreds of flights at the city’s two airports and suspended some long-distance train services. Shanghai officials moved 374,000 people to emergency shelters, amid fears the storm could be the worst since 2005, when Typhoon Matsa killed seven people.

By late afternoon, the typhoon had passed Zhejiang’s provincial capital, Hangzhou, and was forecast to move into Anhui Province, bringing rains of up to 400mm in some areas.

In the Philippines, heavy rains continued to pound Metro Manila, prompting a new danger alert as emergency workers rushed food, water and clothes to almost 1 million people through streets turned into rivers after 11 straight days of monsoon downpour.

About 60 percent of Metro Manila, a metropolis of about 12 million people, remained inundated, said Benito Ramos, head of the national disaster agency.

Danger to the population was compounded by an early evening one-hour downpour yesterday of 54.7mm, just shy of a record one-hour soaking of 56.58 mm in September 2009 that inundated the capital, killing more than 700 people and causing US$1 billion worth of property damage.

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