CHINA / National

65, 000 evacuated as storm approaches S. China
Updated: 2006-08-03 10:29

HONG KONG, (Reuters) - Typhoon Prapiroon, which killed six people and forced thousands to flee their homes in the northern Philippines, closed in on southern China on Thursday and thousands have been evacuated ahead of its arrival.

At 0010 GMT, the centre of Prapiroon, which means "God of rain" in Thai, was about 280 km (175 miles) south of Hong Kong and is forecast to move at about 14 km an hour towards Guangdong province, the Hong Kong observatory said.

Southern China, already hard hit by tropical storms Bilis and Kaemi, was bracing for Prapiroon, which the central meteorological office said was expected to make landfall somewhere between the cities of Taishan and Xuwen as early as Thursday afternoon.

Rail links between Guangdong and the island province of Hainan were suspended, and Hainan's fishing fleet was ordered to return to harbour, Xinhua news agency reported.

The storm was expected to move northwest, hitting the provinces of Guangxi and Guizhou. A total of 65,000 people in the four provinces have been evacuated to safer places in preparation for the storm.

Last month, rainstorms triggered by Kaemi killed more than 30 and left another 60 missing across southern China, just as the region was recovering from Bilis, which claimed more than 600 lives.

Two port workers were injured in Hong Kong on Tuesday when strong winds blew over a stack of 12-metre containers, police said.


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