300,000 evacuated as Nesat lands in S China
Updated: 2011-09-29 18:25
WENCHANG - About 300,000 people have been evacuated before Nesat, the strongest typhoon that hit China this year, landed in the southern-most island province of Hainan Thursday afternoon.
Packing winds of 42 meters per second at its center, it made landfall in Wengtian Township in Wenchang at 2:30 p.m., bringing heavy winds and torrential rain to the city in eastern Hainan.
The city had evacuated 57,738 people from disaster-prone areas, including low-lying areas and fishing boats, by 2 p.m., said Fu Taosheng, deputy director of the city's flood control and drought relief headquarters.
According to the provincial meteorological bureau, precipitation in 72 townships in the province exceeded 100 mm between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday.
The province also has recalled ships, suspended flight and ferry services and closed schools in preparation for Nesat, which is the 17th typhoon to hit China this year as well as the strongest.
Chen Cheng, vice governor of Hainan, ordered all fishing boats to return to harbor and fishermen to take shelter ashore. So far, a total of 27,223 fishing boats have been recalled to harbor.
The storm seriously disrupted local transportation services.
All flights were canceled at the Sanya Phoenix International Airport on Thursday, while 143 flights were canceled and 32 delayed in Haikou Meilan Airport.
Passenger ferry services across the Qiongzhou Strait have been suspended since Wednesday, while railway services stopped Thursday morning.
As a result, vegetables could not be transported from other parts of the country, causing prices to surge on Thursday. In the provincial capital of Haikou, prices of vegetables, including cabbage, lettuce and tomato, rose by as much as 33 percent.
Hainan has stopped selling bus tickets and encouraged passengers that planned to take buses in the next two days to return their tickets.
To ensure children's safety, all kindergartens, primary and middle schools in Wenchang, Sanya, Qionghai and Haikou, have suspended classes from Thursday to Friday.
Li Hongbo, director of the provincial water resources bureau, said the government has given orders to ensure the safety of all reservoirs and to protect people living in both low-lying regions and areas downstream from dangerous reservoirs.
Typhoon Nesat is expected to linger in Hainan for over 10 hours before moving toward the Beibu Gulf through the Qiongzhou Strait.
The typhoon killed at least 35 in the Philippines.