Typhoon heads for East China's Fujian

Updated: 2011-08-30 08:16

By Chen Xin (China Daily)

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FUZHOU - A typhoon that flooded homes, roads and farmland in Taiwan with more than 500 mm of rain left the island on Monday and headed to the eastern province of Fujian.

Typhoon heads for East China's Fujian

A typhoon that flooded homes, roads and farmland in Taiwan with more than 500 mm of rain left the island on Monday and headed to the eastern province of Fujian.[Photo/Agencies]

Typhoon Nanmadol is expected to make landfall in Fujian on Tuesday after staying over Taiwan for only a few hours. The typhoon, which had already pummeled the Philippines, where at least 16 people died, had weakened by the time it reached Taiwan.

One death in Taiwan was attributed to the storm - a motorcyclist hit by debris - and disruption to everyday life was extensive.

Some 30,000 households in southern and eastern Taiwan lost power, 8,000 people were evacuated and scores of roads and bridges were closed due to the heavy rain. Offices and schools were closed in the southeast as well as in the capital, Taipei, which escaped the brunt of the storm.

In a southwestern county, civil defense crews used small boats to rescue people from communities inundated by flooding. CTI cable news station footage showed the aftermath of landslides in Pingtung township, with several homes partially submerged by water.

Pingtung is just south of the mountainous regions where more than 500 people died two years ago in mudslides spawned by rains associated with Typhoon Morakot, the most devastating storm to hit the island in half a century.

A slow government response to that catastrophe prompted a fusillade of criticism aimed at Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, who is up for re-election in January.

Following Morakot, Ma said he was reorienting the major mission of the island's armed forces toward disaster relief.

The change was evident over the weekend, as the military dispatched troops and rescue equipment to vulnerable areas, something which did not happen during Morakot.

The typhoon drenched the northern Philippines for days before pummeling it with fierce winds. Landslides, flooding and collapsed walls caused many of the casualties, officials there said.

Fujian Provincial Observatory issued an orange warning, the second highest level, on Monday, saying Nanmadol was expected to land in central and southern parts of Fujian in daytime on Tuesday.

The observatory forecast that the typhoon will coincide with an astronomical tide on Monday, and was expected to produce waves 2 to 3.5 meters high in Fujian's coastal areas.

It also warned the typhoon could lead to torrential floods and landslides in some regions.

The maritime affairs bureaus of Fuzhou, Putian, Quanzhou, Xiamen and Zhangzhou cities on Monday jointly activated the red warning, the highest level, to recall all ships to harbor, the Fujian maritime safety administration told Xinhua News Agency.

More than 1,800 local ships have returned to harbor, said the administration, which has strengthened offshore patrols to ensure the safety of shipping. Four rescue ships, three rescue jets and 65 tugboats have been put on emergency standby, according to Xinhua.

Fujian authorities have also asked local ports and coastal tourism facilities to suspend operations if required.

The National Committee for International Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have asked the coastal provinces of Fujian, Zhejiang and Guangdong, and the eastern province of Jiangxi to prepare for the typhoon's arrival.

All civil affairs bureaus should cooperate with other departments and prepare to evacuate people in vulnerable areas and to ensure rescue workers and relief supplies are fully prepared, said the announcement.

AP contributed to this story.