High-risk areas evacuated before typhoon

Updated: 2011-09-30 08:08

(China Daily)

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High-risk areas evacuated before typhoon
Residents in Haikou, capital of South China's Hainan province, get stuck on a street flooded by torrential rain caused by Typhoon Nesat on Thursday. [Photo by Huang Yiming/China Daily]

BEIJING - Typhoon Nesat hit South China's Hainan province on Thursday after it swept past Hong Kong, closing financial markets, schools and most businesses in one of Asia's biggest financial centers.

China recalled ships to port, and suspended flights and ferry services in preparation for the typhoon after it passed through the Philippines, where it left at least 35 people dead and 45 missing.

About 58,000 people were evacuated before Nesat, the strongest typhoon to hit China this year, landed in Hainan on Thursday afternoon.

Packing winds of 150 km/h at its center, it made landfall in Wenchang at 2:30 pm, bringing heavy winds and torrential rains to the city in eastern Hainan.

Chen Cheng, deputy governor of Hainan, ordered all fishing boats to return to harbor and fishermen to take shelter ashore. In Wenchang alone, more than 2,600 fishing boats were recalled to harbor.

Passenger ferry services across the Qiongzhou Strait have been suspended since Wednesday, while railway services stopped on Thursday morning.

Hainan has stopped selling bus tickets and encouraged passengers who plan to take buses in the next two days to return their tickets.

To ensure children's safety, all kindergartens, primary and middle schools in Wenchang, Sanya, Qionghai and Haikou suspended classes on Thursday and Friday.

No deaths were reported in Hong Kong and damage was minimal, but local television showed footage of at least two people who were hospitalized after being hit by falling debris as a result of strong winds.

Hong Kong's dominant airline, Cathay Pacific, said all its flights to and from the city were operating as normal. Hong Kong International Airport's website showed at least 40 departing flights were delayed or canceled.

Ferry terminals that link Hong Kong to Macao, South China and outlying islands were also closed.

Macao was also affected, with schools and businesses closed. But the city's glittering casinos, including the Venetian Macao and the Wynn Macau, remained open for tourists who managed to make their way there.

Reuters - Xinhua