Fri, Aug 04, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Evacuations ordered as storm nears

TYPHOON PRAPIROON Guangdong Province is bracing for up to 18cm of rain and flooding, while some trains and flights have been suspended

AFP , BEIJING

Typhoon Prapiroon raced toward south China yesterday, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people and causing the cancellation of flights and transport chaos across the region.

The typhoon, upgraded from a tropical storm on Wednesday after killing six people in the Philippines, was headed in the direction of Guangdong Province after skirting Hong Kong and Macau.

Trees were uprooted and scaffolding ripped down in Hong Kong, where 14 cargo containers were tipped over at the city's massive shipping terminal. At least four flights to Taiwan had to be cancelled, airport authorities said.

The Hong Kong Observatory said winds up to 60kph had hit Hong Kong as the typhoon came within 300km of the territory.

In Macau, authorities issued the No. 8 typhoon signal, alerting residents to stay at home as the storm brought high winds and heavy showers.

On the mainland, the Chinese meteorological administration said up to 18cm of rain was expected to fall over the next few days.

It said 65,000 people had already been evacuated from Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi.

Guangdong authorities warned the province to be prepared for widespread flooding, high waves, landslides and the collapse of houses, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Rail services and flights had also been suspended in many areas, Xinhua said.

More than 1,400 people have been killed in China due to the typhoons this season, according to the the Red Cross, which on Wednesday appealed for US$5 million to help survivors.

The appeal aims to help 240,000 "highly vulnerable people" in the provinces of Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi and Fujian, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a statement.

The aid money will be used to provide food, tents and blankets for 60,000 families, as well as helping to rebuild the homes of 1,200 families whose houses were destroyed in Hunan, Jiangxi and Guangxi.

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