CHINA / Regional

Five killed as Typhoon lashes South China
Updated: 2006-08-04 13:57

Tropical Storm Prapiroon left five people dead in southern China's Guangdong province, state television reported Friday as high winds and heavy rain lashed an area where 400,000 people had earlier been evacuated.

The brief report on the national midday news didn't give any details of where or how the deaths occurred.

By late morning, Prapiroon's wind speed had dropped from typhoon level to tropical storm as it dumped rain on the Guangxi region on China's southern coast, the China Meteorological Administration said.

The storm's sustained wind speed slowed to 83 kilometers (51 miles) per hour, down from 118 kph (74 mph) when it came ashore Thursday night in populous Guangdong province, the agency said. It said the storm was expected to keep moving west or northwest at 13 kph (8 mph).

Stormy weather was forecast through Saturday across the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan and Hainan, China's southernmost island and a popular tourist destination.

Authorities evacuated about 400,000 residents in low-lying areas of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) southwest of Hong Kong in the South China Sea, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Ferry services linking Hainan to the mainland were also suspended.

Some 84,000 people were forced to flee their homes in Guangxi, Xinhua said. It didn't give a breakdown of the evacuations in Guangdong and Hainan.

More than 62,000 boats returned to port in the three provinces, and rescue teams were put on alert, Xinhua said.

Prapiroon killed six people earlier as it passed across the Philippines, and one person in Hong Kong was injured Wednesday when high winds toppled empty cargo containers at a shipping terminal.

Several vessels ran aground and ferry services were suspended.

Hong Kong's airport said hundreds of flights were diverted, delayed or canceled.

The typhoon season started early in China this year, where storms have already killed more than 1,460 people, mainly in the densely populated southeast.

Chinese officials estimate more than 1 million houses have been damaged and millions of hectares (acres) of farmland and forests destroyed.

Prapiroon, named after the Thai rain god, is the region's eighth major storm of the season. It comes in the wake of last week's Typhoon Kaemi, which killed at least 35 people in China and left dozens missing in flooding and landslides.


Related Stories