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Typhoons set to wreak havoc along coast

By Jin Zhu in Beijing and Wang Zhenghua in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2012-08-03 08:07

 Typhoons set to wreak havoc along coast

Border guards in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, help a tourist who got into difficulty near the city's beach as winds whipped up waves. Typhoon Saola was on target to hit the province on Friday. Jia Ce / for China Daily

Authorities take measures to protect people and property

Two typhoons, set to hit eastern coastal areas almost simultaneously, caused widespread disruption to daily life.

Damrey made landfall in Jiangsu province late on Thursday night.

The National Meteorological Center said that Saola was expected to make landfall in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces early Friday.

"It is rare to see two typhoons land on eastern coastal regions at almost the same time," the center said on Thursday.

Transport services are being disrupted.

Shanghai railway authorities said on Thursday they had suspended ticket sales for trains heading to Ningbo and Wenzhou in East China's Zhejiang province on Friday and Saturday.

Passenger boats to the city's Chongming Island suspended services at 1:30 pm on Thursday.

Jinshan City Beach, one of the most popular seaside venues on the outskirts of Shanghai, closed its swimming area from 4 pm on Thursday until Sunday.

Passengers were also stranded after flights were canceled at Shanghai's two airports from 4 pm on Thursday.

Taiwan's major cities were forced to close schools and offices on Thursday in response to Saola's torrential rain and gusts after it made landfall in Hualien county.

"There's a 4-meter-deep hole in the road in Keelung city. Gas supply lines have been cut off. Floods have swept the counties of Pingtung and Kaohsiung in the south of the island," an emergency worker said on China Central Television on Thursday.

Saola already caused devastation in the Philippines, leaving 26 people dead and affecting more than 300,000, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Emergency services in China were gearing up for the typhoons especially after recent heavy flooding.

Disasters triggered by rain since July 27 have affected more than 9 million people in 23 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. At least 76 people were killed and another 30 remain unaccounted for, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Thursday.

At 1 pm on Thursday, the National Meteorological Center issued this year's first red warning for the two typhoons, the highest warning level in China's four-tier color-coded typhoon warning system.

According to Lu Zhenlin, director of the Jiangsu provincial department of water conservancy, personnel have been sent to closely monitor sea defenses and embankments.

"Because it's the fishing season, 287 boats are still at sea," Lu said on Thursday afternoon. "The provincial department of ocean and fisheries has warned them to return."

As of 2 pm on Thursday 6,992 boats had been ordered to return to port, according to Shen Zhiwang, a member of staff from the provincial flood prevention department, adding that more than 50,000 people have been relocated in response to the typhoon's approach.

"All the relocated people have been settled in homes of relatives or friends, or in school dormitories," Shen said.

Inspection teams have been sent to Lianyungang, Yancheng and Nantong, three of Jiangsu's coastal cities.

According to Yancheng's flood control headquarters, all boats have been told to stay in port.

Lianyungang's flood prevention department said that the water level of the city's key reservoirs and rivers has been lowered to accommodate rain.

Chen Xiaoxi, a Lianyungang resident, said that strong winds and rains hit the city on Thursday afternoon.

The Yangtze River in Nanjing's Xiaguan district may breach danger levels, according to the city's flood prevention department.

Nanjing's urban management bureau is publishing a booklet telling people what precautions to take.

Soldiers have already been dispatched to areas likely to be hit, the water conservancy department said.

Gulangyu, a scenic spot in Xiamen and one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, remained open on Thursday afternoon.

"But we are waiting for official instructions and ready to close," said an official with Gulangyu Management Committee.

The Fujian provincial department of ocean and fisheries said on Thursday that 59,337 fishermen and marine staff have been relocated.

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Sun Li in Fuzhou and Cang Wei in Nanjing contributed to this story.

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