CHINA> Regional
Typhoon lashes Fujian, brings rain
Updated: 2008-07-29 07:21

FUZHOU -- Typhoon Fung Wong, the strongest and eighth tropical storm to hit the mainland's coast this year, lashed Fujian province at 10 pm Monday, bringing heavy rain the country's eastern and southeastern coast.

A man tries to stop his umbrella from flying away as Typhoon Fung Wong hit Taipei July 28, 2008. It packed wind gusts of up to 190 kph and forced businesses and markets to close. [Agencies]

The eye of the powerful typhoon made landfall at Donghan town of Fuqing city at 10 pm, with winds of up to 119 kph, according to the provincial observatory.

It is likely to bring more heavy rain and strong winds in coastal areas of the province today, with rainfall expected to exceed 200 mm, the meteorologists forecast.

Fung Wong, Chinese for phoenix, is expected to weaken into a tropical storm over the next 24 hours.

The typhoon lashed Taiwan yesterday morning, dumping up to 700 mm of rain, killing one person, injuring five, and causing widespread flooding.

It also forced businesses, financial markets and educational institutions to close.

Fung Wong was the second typhoon to hit Taiwan in two weeks. On July 18, Typhoon Kalmaegi killed at least 20 people and caused extensive flooding, landslides and crop damage on the island.

In the provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, authorities evacuated more than 500,000 people and called back nearly 80,000 fishing vessels. Ferry services between the mainland and Taiwan were suspended, too.

Authorities in Zhejiang had moved 230,000 people to safer places and recalled 26,200 fishing vessels yesterday before the typhoon struck, the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said.

Forty-nine flights had been cancelled and two delayed at Fuzhou International Airport in neighboring Fujian by 4 pm. And provincial authorities had evacuated 274,300 people and called back about 52,300 fishing vessels.

Disaster relief personnel were sent to help fishermen trapped on the vessels reach the shore, said Yang Zhiying, head of Fujian's flood control headquarters.