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Typhoon Usagi kills 25 upon Guangdong landfall

Updated: 2013-09-23 20:56
( Xinhua)

Typhoon Usagi kills 25 upon Guangdong landfall
Pedestrians travel in the rain with umbrellas in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, Sept. 23, 2013. Typhoon Usagi made a landfall in Guangdong Sunday evening, bringing rainfall to the province. [Photo/Xinhua] 

GUANGZHOU - Typhoon Usagi has killed at least 25 people after making landfall in south China's Guangdong province on Sunday evening, said the provincial government on Monday.

The deaths included 13 in Shanwei City, six in Shantou City, three in Jieyang City and one in Guangzhou, Heyuan and Chaozhou each, said the emergency management office of the Guangdong provincial government.

A total of 5.48 million people were affected and 310,000 residents were displaced due to the storm. Some 8,490 houses collapsed and 50,800 hectares of cropland was damaged.

The typhoon has resulted in direct economic losses of 7.1 billion yuan ( 1.16 billion US dollars) in Guangdong.

Usagi -- Japanese for rabbit -- was designated a super typhoon on Saturday after it passed through the Philippines and Taiwan, moving toward China's mainland. Although its power weakened on Sunday, the storm's winds still reached a speed of 45 meters per second at its eye upon landfall in Shanwei at 7:40 p.m. on Sunday.

Usagi has devastated the eastern part of Guangdong, with trees blown down and water and electricity supply cut off in several counties in the worst-hit Shanwei.

"The toll in our city included seven deaths at a railway construction site. The majority of casualties were due to the collapse of houses where people took shelter," said Xiao Zhan, deputy head of the Shanwei Water Authority.

"This is the strongest storm we have ever seen in the past 30 years. It is really terrible," said a Shanwei resident surnamed Zheng.

In Jinghai Township, Jieyang City, a villager died after being struck in the chest by window glass dislodged by the strong wind. Doctors failed to save his life.

The provincial flood control headquarters said the typhoon has caused sea water encroachment in coastal areas, and river overflow and landslides in rural regions.

On Monday, 14 cities in Guangdong, including the provincial capital of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai, as well as neighboring Hong Kong and Macao, had still suspended school classes and air, railway and shipping traffic as a precaution against the storm.

The National Disaster Reduction Commission and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have dispatched expert teams to typhoon-hit regions to help disaster relief work. The local disaster relief office has also dispatched work teams to affected areas.

Usagi has downgraded into a tropical depression and its center entered neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region at midday on Monday.

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