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Five missing as tropical storm Linfa lands in east China
Updated: 2009-06-22 21:48

FUZHOU: Torrential rain and strong winds triggered by tropical storm Linfa have left five people missing in east China's Fujian and Zhejiang provinces, local authorities said Monday.

A fisherman in Fujian, where the storm landed, was missing Monday after setting sail despite warnings, local officials said.

Five missing as tropical storm Linfa lands in east China
A man walks against strong gales at Jinjing Town in Jinjiang, east China's Fujian Province Sunday June 21, 2009. [Xinhua]

In neighboring Zhejiang Province, four fishermen in a wooden boat were reported missing at about 6 p.m. as they were placing crab pots off the coast in Wenling City, local border defense officers said. Waves at sea were 3 to 4 meters high. Rescuers were still trying to locate the missing as of 9 p.m.

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Linfa, the third tropical storm of the year, made landfall at 8:30 p.m. Sunday in Dongshi Township, Jinjiang City in Fujian Province, packing winds of up to 82.8 kilometers per hour.

About 200,000 people were affected by the storm in Fujian. Of those, 130,000 had to evacuate the area. The storm also flooded 32,000 hectares of cropland and destroyed 100 houses in southern parts of the province, a spokesman with the Fujian Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said Monday.

Direct economic losses were estimated at about 336 million yuan (49.4 million U.S. dollars), the spokesman said.

"We are still calculating the losses," he said.

The eye of Linfa was located at 26.9 degrees north and 120.3 degrees east as of 3 p.m. Monday, off the coast in northern Fujian, packing winds of up to 64.8 km per hour, and it was continuing to move northeast at 15 km per hour, he said.

Also Monday, the Fujian provincial meteorological bureau issued an orange alert for torrential rain, the second-highest alert, and advised the cancellation of all outdoor gatherings and high-level outdoor work.

Linfa brought downpours to the island county of Dongshan in southern Fujian, with maximum rainfall of 488.1 mm as of 10 a.m. Monday.

Rain was forecast in most cities in the province in the next two days.

The provincial Oceanic and Fisheries bureau recalled 30,000 fishing boats and 162,757 people working at sea to harbor Sunday evening.

The sea route between Xiamen, in Fujian, and Jinmen, in Taiwan, was closed indefinitely, according to the provincial maritime affairs bureau.

About 10.68 million text messages were sent by local telecommunication authorities Sunday, ordering schoolchildren to stay home Monday and factories to close.

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