BEIJING: As typhoon Morakot gains momentum and churns toward China's mainland, provinces in coastal regions are busy bracing for its impact.
Soldiers help fishermen go to safe zone in the rain in Taizhou City, east China's Zhejiang Province, Aug. 6, 2009. It is predicted that the typhoon Morakot will land off the seashore in east China's Zhejiang Province and southeast China's Fujian Province from Saturday noon to Sunday morning. [Xinhua]
By 5 p.m. Thursday, the typhoon was located at 23.3 degrees north and 126.7 degrees east, about 780 kilometers away from Wenzhou, a major city in Zhejiang province, meteorological authorities said. It was expected to land in the eastern Zhejiang or Fujian provinces between Saturday noon and Sunday morning.
In Zhejiang province 2,076 ships had returned to harbor by 3 p.m. while passenger liner services in Wenzhou and Taizhou cities were suspended.
More than 900 Chinese and foreign tourists have been evacuated from the resort Nanji Island, and measures taken in scenic areas near the coast to assist tourists.
Seventeen teams comprising 138 soldiers are preparing for emergencies, and working with local officials to ascertain potentially hazardous areas. In adjacent Fujian province, nearly 8.4 million short messages had been sent to mobile phone users by 5:30 p.m., warning them to prepare for the typhoon.
Provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters ordered fishing boats and construction vessels to seek shelter in harbors before 6 p.m. Thursday.
As of 6 p.m., more than 1,200 vessels had returned to harbors and 5,242 people had been evacuated in Fujian's Ningde, Putian and Fuzhou. Sea waves as high as six meters battered fish farms.
Weather forecasters said the most severe typhoon this year would push sea waves in the coastal areas to up to nine meters high when it approaches.
Local authorities have warned the public to pay attention to weather forecasts and be aware of the rainstorms and other typhoon-related disasters.
More than 180 policemen are on duty in Quanzhou city, helping those in danger areas to evacuate.