Sat, Aug 10, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Red alert as storm nears China’s east

‘GREAT EVACUATION’:Trains are to be suspended and some airlines canceled flights out of Shanghai, as officials prepared for an ‘alert level’ storm surge

AFP and AP, BEIJING

Workers on Thursday unload seafood from fishing boats before Typhoon Lekima makes landfall in Zhoushan, China.

Photo: Reuters

China issued a red alert for Typhoon Lekima, which is expected to batter Zhejiang Province early today with high winds and torrential rainfall, and send an intense storm surge up the Yangzte River.

The ninth typhoon of the year is projected to move northwest up China’s coast today, with the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) focusing its attention on Shanghai and Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces.

The red alert is the most serious in China’s four-tired alert system, prompting authorities to prepare evacuations, suspend train and air travel, and require vessels to return to port.

In Zhejiang, ferry service had been canceled and more than 200 tourists evacuated from popular Beiji Island.

Lekima’s center was about 290km southeast of Wenling yesterday morning, with winds reaching 209kph, Xinhua news agency reported.

Authorities canceled today’s train services in Zhejiang, Shanghai and elsewhere, and issued a yellow alert for torrential rain and flooding for provinces in Lekima’s path, the CMA’s newspaper said.

Some airlines have canceled today’s flights out of Shanghai as a precaution, CMA said.

The “great evacuation” from the sea was well under way, with ships returning to port and moving to safe areas, the newspaper added.

An intense storm surge was expected to raise waters in the estuary of the Yangzte River beginning yesterday.

Three main streams of the river are likely to exceed alert levels and the commission overseeing the river for the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources has ordered efforts to prevent floods and oversaturation of levees along the river’s banks.

The storm yesterday swept past the northern tip of Taiwan, where at least one person was killed and nine were injured, some trees were downed and about 73,000 homes lost power temporarily.

Taiwanese officials also said that about 518 flights were canceled yesterday due to heavy rains.

In September last year, Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into China, where authorities evacuated 2.37 million people, after it left a trail of destruction in Hong Kong and Macau, and killed at least 59 people in the northern Philippines.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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