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Tropical storm Haima sweeps over Wenzhou
By Bao Daozu (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-13 23:50

Tropical storm Haima, the 21st of the year, lashed the town of Yongqiang in the city of Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, at around noon Monday.

A fishing boat with 16 people on board was still missing after the rescue work was forced to be suspended with the approach of the tropical storm.

The boat, which was from Xiapu County in East China's Fujian Province, capsized off the coast of Zhejiang last Friday.

Armed police officers help local people evacuate to safer areas Monday before the arrival of tropical storm Haima in the city of Taizhou of East China's Zhejiang Province. [Xinhua]

The local government sent rescuers to the scene after receiving the accident report, but abandoned their long search after being warned of the approach of Haima.

The strong gale continues to hamper rescue efforts, said officials with the Wenzhou Maritime Safety Administration.

With winds as powerful as force 8, Haima, which means seahorse in Chinese, made its land fall at the storm-weary city of Wenzhou, which was battered by Typhoon Rananim about a month ago.

It continues to move northwestwards, said local weather forecasters, but the strength of the wind has reduced.

The local government set up a 24-hour monitoring system and once again urged the public to be on high alert against mountain torrents and mud slides.

The province has taken steps to bring fishing boats back to the safety of their ports and evacuate residents to safer areas.

Local education authorities required all schools in Wenzhou to take a half day off Monday.

About 8 million cubic metres of water in reservoirs were drained beforehand as torrential rains were expected in the province.

A tricyclist pedals in the rain brought by tropical storm Haima Monday in Wenzhou, eastern China's Zhejiang Province. [newsphoto]

Although the tropical storm is weaker than Typhoon Rananim, which was blamed for the deaths of 164 people, it is expected to bring rainy weather to the province until tomorrow, said Pan Jinsong, a senior official at Zhejiang Meteorological Observatory.

By press time, no reports were available of damages caused by the tropical storm.

East China's Fujian Province, which was prepared to fight the disaster, escaped the attack since Haima headed northward to Zhejiang Province after it hit Taiwan.

According to the Fujiang Provincial Meteorological Observatory, northern part of Zhejiang were currently under the influence of the outer bands of the storm, which is bringing considerable amounts of rainfall and strong winds of force 9.

At least seven people are feared dead in floods and a landslide triggered by Haima that is dumping torrential rain across northern Taiwan, the Taipei Times reported.

It said rock and earth loosened by days of downpours swept away three houses and buried a family of four, including a 12-year-old boy, in mountainous Hsinchu County, the same region that was devastated by Typhoon Aere last month.

According to a Taiwan News report, Haima will continue to dump heavy rains on the island until Tuesday.

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