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Tropical storm strikes Guangdong hard
By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-29 01:12

More than 20 fishermen are feared dead after a tropical storm hit coastal areas of Guangdong Province in the past two days.

A fishing vessel capsized near Nan'ao Island in the eastern part of Guangdong Province at about noon on Tuesday.

All 22 fishermen are still missing. The search was ongoing Wednesday evening and included elements of the South China Sea Fleet and Marine Departments from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Zhang Dejiang, Party secretary of Guangdong Province, and Governor Huang Huahua have urged relevant departments to do everything possible to rescue the missing fishermen.

Shantou Party secretary Lin Musheng and Mayor Huang Zhiguang also arrived at the scene to help organize the rescue work Wednesday.

But local fishermen fear the missing people might have died after spending more than a day in the cold sea water

In Huilai, a coastal county in eastern Guangdong, another fishing boat sank during the storm, leaving three fishermen missing on Tuesday evening.

A rescue operation was also ongoing Wednesday.

The unnamed typhoon, the 11th tropical storm hitting China's coastal areas this year, suddenly slammed into Guangdong at about 11:10 am on Tuesday.

The cities of Shantou, Chaozhou and Jieyang were hardest hit by the storm which was accompanied by heavy rainfall.

Many sections of river and coastal dykes, as well as water conservation facilities, were destroyed while many farm fields were flooded.

In Chao'an County under the jurisdiction of Chaozhou City, at least one person was killed when a tornado hit the county's Fengtang and Fuyang townships Wednesday noon.

Another seven residents were injured after more than 100 houses in four villages were damaged or destroyed.

A total of 409 people from 93 families became homeless.

Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, was also seriously hit by heavy rainfall Wednesday, causing chaos in the city's busy downtown areas.

Many streets in the business centers were flooded.

The heavy rainfall also caused a sharp rise in the water level in the Xijiang River, the major tributary of the Pearl River.

The water level of the Xijiang River went over the warning line Wednesday, threatening the cities and counties along its course.

The storm, however, has helped ease the drought that seriously hit the eastern part of Guangdong this summer.

Guangdong Provincial Anti-Flooding Headquarters Wednesday issued an emergency notice to urge cities and counties along the Xijiang River to pay special attention to fighting floods in the near future.

The storm and unstable weather will likely continue to affect the southern Chinese province till the end of the week, said an official from the Guangdong Provincial Observatory Wednesday.

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