NINGDE - The strongest typhoon to strike China for half a century killed at
least 111 people and left many others missing, according to the latest reports
carried by the Xinhua news agency.
Motorcycles and vehicles are blown down in
Fuding County, east China's Fujian Province as typhoon Saomai, the
strongest to strike China in 50 years, made landfall in east China
lashing the region with winds and downpours.
Typhoon Saomai tore into Cangnan County in eastern China's Zhejiang province
on Thursday after authorities relocated 1 million people in the densely
populated commercial province, Xinhua said.
But by Friday morning, Saomai had weakened into a tropical storm as it moved
into Jiangxi province, which was bracing for heavy storms and flooding, Xinhua
Saomai, Vietnamese for "morning star", capsized boats and collapsed houses as
it carved a swathe of destruction through southern China, following in the path
of seven previous typhoons this season.
A total of 81 people were killed in Wenzhou area, which includes Cangnan, and
11 were missing there, the news agency reported.
Two local residents manage their way amid
heavy rains in Fuding County, east China's Fujian Province Thursday,
August 10, 2006, as typhoon Saomai, the strongest typhoon in 50 years,
made landfall in east China. [Xinhua]
Two people were also killed in Fuding in neighbouring Fujian province, where
620,000 people were evacuated. Eight Taiwanese sailors and four fishermen of the
mainland reported missing earlier there had been rescued.
"Because transport and communications have been cut, the number and identity
of the dead and missing is still being established," the agency said.
In Cangnan, 1,000 houses were blown over and 80 people were injured, with
many telephone and power lines severed.
The typhoon landed with winds of 216 km (135 mph) per hour -- more powerful
than a typhoon that hit Zhejiang in August 1956, triggering a storm surge that
killed more than 3,000 people.
A highway to Cangnan was closed, and abandoned cars lay in ditches by the
roadway in Ningde. The powerful winds snapped off the tops of trees along
Tropical Storm Risk (www.tropicalstormrisk.com) had graded Saomai a
maximum-category 5 "super" typhoon, but reduced that to category 4 as it made
landfall, the same category as Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the U.S. Gulf
coast last year.
The greater Wenzhou area, which includes Cangnan and is home to 7.4 million
people, declared a state of emergency. Wenzhou authorities said late on Thursday
that economic losses to the area -- a trading and manufacturing centre -- could
amount to 2.3 billion yuan ($288 million).
Tropical Storm Bopha is trailing behind it farther out in the Pacific in wake