'We're not like New Orleans': official
Southeastern China braced itself as tropical storm Damrey was upgraded to a typhoon, though officials insisted the country's experience dealing with cyclones would prevent a New Orleans-style disaster.
"In preparing for typhoons, China is better than the United States," said Wang Gang, an official at the National Disaster Relief Center.
"It's because we have a lot of typhoons and we've learned from experience."
He was speaking as Typhoon Damrey was moving at 15 to 20 kilometers (9.3 to 12.4 miles) an hour from the South China Sea west towards China's southeast coast.
It brought strong winds and heavy rains to Hong Kong Saturday, suspending ferry services to several islands.
But the typhoon was expected to skirt Hong Kong, making landfall in southern China's island province of Hainan Sunday evening, according to China's central meteorological station.
"We're paying close attention. It will land between Zhanjiang city in Guangdong province and Lingshui in Hainan province," said Wang.
In the United States, Hurricane Rita rammed the coast of
Texas and Louisiana with winds moving at a maximum speed of 195 kilometers per
hour, forcing the evacuation of an estimated two million people.