CHINA> Regional
460,000 evacuated as tropical storm Sinlaku nears
Updated: 2008-09-15 17:04

FUZHOU -- About 460,000 people in east China's Zhejiang and Fujian Provinces have been evacuated as tropical storm Sinlaku, which was weakened from a typhoon on Monday morning, was approaching.

The Fujian provincial headquarters for flood control said on Monday morning that close to 230,000 people had been evacuated as of 9 p.m. on Sunday and the mass evacuation was still under way.

In Zhejiang, 230,000 residents have been evacuated and 30,000 fishing boats have been recalled to harbor.

Typhoon Sinlaku weakened into a tropical storm at 8 a.m. Monday. Its eye was reported to be about 196 km to the southeast of Wenzhou in southeastern Zhejiang at 11 a.m., moving northwestward at a speed of 5 km per hour, according to the local weather authorities.

It was very likely that the tropical storm would change its direction to north-northeast in the offshore waters of Zhejiang and would not make a landfall in the Chinese mainland, according to Li Jian, head of the Zhejiang Meteorological Bureau.

However, Zhejiang Governor Lu Zushan said on Monday the threat of Sinlaku remained although it weakened into a tropical storm, and downpours could trigger landslides and flash flood in some areas.

Heavy rains were reported in eastern and northern parts of Zhejiang and central and northern parts of Fujian on Monday morning.

Sinlaku, the 13th tropical storm so far this year in China, injured 13 people when it hit northeastern Taiwan on Sunday.

More than 130,000 households in Taiwan suffered a power blackout, and 800 lost their water supply, which has yet to be reconnected. A total of 32 shelters have been built for 782 typhoon victims, local authority said.

Work and schools were suspended in 21 counties and cities on the island on Sunday.