Fri, May 19, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Storm hammers southern China


Sixteen people were killed and more than 1 million people evacuated as Tropical Storm Chanchu swept through China's Guangdong and Fujian provinces yesterday, while Vietnam was still searching for 35 fishermen missing at sea.

Eight people were killed in Guangdong and another eight in Fujian, governments in those provinces said. The eight deaths in Fujian were reported last night by the Fujian Water Resources Bureau's Web site. No information was immediately available on them.

The victims in Guangdong, including two children, were killed when their houses collapsed in Shantou following a landslide caused by torrential rain, an official at the local flood control center said.

Meanwhile, the number of people evacuated rose to more than 1 million people after the Fujian bureau reported 709,000 had been evacuated in the province. A total of 327,000 people in Guangdong Province were evacuated.

Chanchu, which brought heavy rain and winds up to 170km per hour, made landfall between the cities of Shantou and Xiamen in the early morning, the Hong Kong Observatory said.

Almost all roads in Shantou were flooded and there were several blackouts, Xinhua said, adding that downpours in Fujian had led to flooding in a number of rivers.

Air links, closed on Wednesday, were resumed and life was returning to normal in Shantou later yesterday as the government officials started to tote up the losses, it said.

State TV news said Chanchu was heading northeast at a speed of 35km per hour, but it would still bring strong rainfall to China's eastern provinces.

In Vietnam, officials had established radio contact with six of 11 ships carrying more than 90 people that went missing on Wednesday some 300km south of Hainan island, then in Chanchu's path.

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