CHINA / Regional

180,000 evacuated in Guangdong as typhoon approaches
Updated: 2006-05-17 11:32

More than 180,000 people have been evacuated from coastal areas to safe places in south China's Guangdong Province as typhoon Chanchu, the first tropical storm of this year, is approaching.

The province had called back 25,219 ships operating on sea by Tuesday night, according to the provincial disaster relief office on Wednesday.

According to the latest broadcast of the provincial meteorological station, Chanchu was located at a sea area 440 kilometers south of Shanwei City in Guangdong by 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, and it was moving northeastward with the maximum wind speed of 45 meters per second at its center, or 14 on the wind scale.

Influenced by typhoon Chanchu, force 8 gale was reported in central Guangdong and sea areas east of the province, and force 6 to 8 gales were also reported in areas near the estuary of the Pearl River and southeastern coastal areas of Guangdong, said the provincial meteorological station.

Typhoon Chanchu is expected to move northward at a speed of 20 km or 23 km per hour in upcoming 24 hours, said Huang Zhong, a weatherman with the meteorological station of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province.

The typhoon may land in the coastal areas between Huidong and Raoping Counties between noon and night on Wednesday or may move toward the Taiwan Strait, passing the eastern coast of Guangdong, Huang said.

Whether the typhoon lands in Guangdong or not, it would powerfully influence the province, Huang said.

Considering Typhoon Chanchu's route of movement and its strength, the Guangdong Provincial Hydrological Bureau forecast that the typhoon might bring storm tides to the eastern coastal areas of Guangdong, resulting in the rise of sea level much higher than the danger mark and threatening the safety of ships and life of people in these areas.

Currently, local governments have called on all ships operating on sea and residents of coastal areas to evacuate from dangerous places as quickly as possible.

Chanchu, whose name means "pearl", formed in the northwestern Pacific, about 550 km to the east of Mindanao island in the Philippines on May 9. It hit central Philippines on Saturday, killing at least 32 people and leaving more than 1,000 others homeless.


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