Thousands evacuated as Typhoon Fitow lashes China

Thousands evacuated as Typhoon Fitow lashes China

Typhoon Fitow barrelled into China’s east coast on Monday, packing winds of more than 200 km/h, after hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated and bullet train services were suspended.
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At least three people were reported killed, all of them near the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, the state broadcaster CCTV said.

Parts of Zhejiang, which borders the commercial hub Hangzhou, saw nearly 29 centimetres of rain over 17 hours from Sunday to early Monday, while areas in Fujian to the south saw up to 16 centimetres, the official China News Service said.

In the hard-hit county of Cangnan in Wenzhou, more than 1200 homes collapsed and damages amounted to hundreds of millions of yuan, China National Radio said.

One of the victims, 55-year-old Ni Wenlin, died “after strong wind blew him off a hill” late Sunday, Xinhua news agency said, citing municipal flood control authorities.

Another person died of electric shock, CCTV reported.

In Fujian the typhoon snapped electricity poles in half, leaving power lines on the ground, and bent iron road signs out of shape, the radio reported.

In the coastal city of Ningde, a village leader told the Beijing Times that huge waves had damaged a 200-hectare seaweed farm, on which nearly 100 families depended for their livelihood.

At least 59 bullet trains in Zhejiang were cancelled, along with 22 flights from the provincial capital Hangzhou and 27 in Wenzhou, Xinhua said.

Sections of highways were shut and more than 350 buses from Wenzhou were cancelled.

Forecasters said the storm was expected to move north-west but weaken quickly.

But continued rainstorms were expected due to another typhoon, Danas, which was set to hit Japan’s main islands on Monday.

Packing winds of up to 180 km/h near its centre, Danas was battering the southern Japanese chain of Okinawa, where more than 50 flights at Naha airport were cancelled while schools were shut, according to local media.

The Japanese meteorological agency issued an alert for strong winds and high waves, while urging residents to remain on guard for floods and landslides as well as lightning and tornadoes.

Local authorities in Okinawa and Kagoshima separately issued evacuation advisories to some 6500 households, public broadcaster NHK said.

In China, authorities had evacuated hundreds of thousands and issued the country’s highest alert on Sunday as Fitow approached the mainland.

The storm was packing winds of up to 151 km/h on Sunday night as it moved towards the coast.

Winds rose to 201 km/h in parts of Wenzhou, Xinhua reported later, citing local flood control authorities.

Zhejiang has so far evacuated more than 574,000 people, while in Fujian 177,000 have been displaced, it said.

Two port workers in Wenzhou were missing and may have fallen into the sea, the agency added.

Xinhua quoted the weather centre as saying it was unusual for a typhoon to come ashore in China’s south-east during October, at the end of the storm season.

Chinese maritime authorities also issued red alerts, warning of storm tides and waves. Fishermen were urged to return to port and local authorities told to prepare harbour facilities and sea walls for high tides.

In Zhejiang more than 35,000 boats returned to harbour while in Fujian nearly 30,000 vessels were called back, according to Xinhua.

Named after a flower from Micronesia, Fitow has hit just two weeks after Typhoon Usagi wreaked havoc in the region, leaving at least 25 dead in southern China.

AFP

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.