CHINA / Regional

Typhoon Kaemi kills 32, 60 missing
Updated: 2006-07-28 13:52

The death toll from rainstorms triggered by Typhoon Kaemi has risen to 32 in China's south and east, state media said on Friday. More than 60 are missing.

Kaemi weakened to a tropical depression shortly after landing on China's southeastern coast on Tuesday, but the heavy rains it brought soaked five provinces, affecting 6 million people and forcing the evacuation of 1.3 million, state television said.

The hardest hit is the eastern province of Jiangxi, where six were killed when flash floods along a mountainside swept away a military barracks in the early hours of Wednesday. Another 38 officers, soldiers and family members are still missing.

A further 17 villagers died and 15 went missing in floods and landslides in Jiangxi's mountainous south, where rivers overflowed and thousands of houses collapsed, Xinhua news agency said. Power, communications and roads were also disrupted.

The rain is expected to stop in the area on Saturday, but it will be followed by a three-day heatwave, prompting officials to warn against possible epidemics, Xinhua added.

Five people, including two young girls, were also killed by floods and landslides in the neighbouring southern province of Guangdong, Xinhua said. Three were missing in Fujian province, where Kaemi made its China landfall.

In the central province of Hunan, streets in the city of Chenzhou were flooded and at least three people were reported missing on Thursday.

The four provinces are still reeling from damage caused by Tropical Storm Bilis, which has killed 612 since it struck China on July 14 with days of downpours.

Tropical storms and typhoons frequently strike Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and southern China during a season that lasts from early summer to late autumn.

But China's storms have been particularly deadly this year, claiming more than 1,000 lives, Xinhua said.

By Wednesday, the rains had destroyed half a million houses, damaged 3.3 million hectares of crops and caused economic losses totalling 74 billion yuan ($9.28 billion), it said.