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Efforts pay off against typhoon
By Bao Daozu (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-27 02:02

Efforts made by provincial government to evacuate almost 1 million people before Typhoon Aere, the 18th of the year, landed in Fujian Province paid off.

Only houses and infrastructure were damaged but there were no casualties.

Still, 2.44 million people were affected and 46,800 hectares of farmland ruined.

In total, the province moved 937,000 people to safety while neighbouring Zhijiang Province, fearing a repeat of the chaos caused by Typhoon Rananim that left 164 dead just weeks ago, evacuated 249,000.

Three cities in Fujian Province were flooded and more than 8,000 houses were damaged.

Damages were estimated to be about 2 billion yuan (US$242 million).

Though the impact of Aere was still lingering around southern parts of Fujian, transportation warnings were cleared early Thursday morning.

The provincial government set aside 5 million yuan (US$604,595) as reserve funds to settle the affected people.

Local officials said the situation turned out to be better than expected as preparation and rescue work had been efficient.

Aere made touched ground three times Fujian Province from Wednesday afternoon to early Thursday morning and blew southwestwards along the coastal line of the province. It was rare movement for a typhoon.

Liu Aimin, Vice-director of Fujian Meteorology Observatory said typhoons normally go northwestwards into inland areas.

Experts say that the unusual route of Aere has something to do with typhoon Chaba, the 17th of the year, which is still active in the northwest of the Pacific. The two typhoons affected each other and made Aere move counterclockwise.

Typhoon Aere, which was decreased to tropical storm in strength, left Fujian and battered South China's Guangdong Province Thursday, breaching some sections of coastal dykes and reservoirs in the eastern part of the province.

Some houses in the cities and counties in the coastal areas were also destroyed or damaged by the disaster.

Many trees and advertisement boards were knocked down by the strong winds, blockading local traffic operation.

But no deaths and injures have, so far, been reported. Damage estimates have not been calculated yet.

Special attention have been urged to pay to prevent mountain torrents, mud-slide and mud-rock flow.

Most cities in Guangdong's eastern coastal areas were hit with more than 100 millimeters of rain Thursday.

Aere, however, could help ease the serious drought situation and cool the hot weather in the southern Chinese province.

Affected by Aere, Guangdong is expected to witness heavy rainfall in the coming weekend.

In other areas, however, Aere brought with it heavy human toll.

At least 15 people were killed by a mudslide triggered by the typhoon in northern Taiwan's mountainous areas, Zheng Yongjin, head of Xinzhu County, told Xinhua.

The Taiwan authority sent military helicopters to the disaster area and began the rescuing work.

So far, 22 people have been confirmed dead, five missing and 35 are injured since Typhoon Aere slammed into the island four days ago.

Taiwan was hit hard by the typhoon as power was cut to 360,000 households and 910,000 lost their water supply Wednesday night.

The typhoon caused most problems in the hills and mountains of northern Taiwan as the traffic was interrupted in 27 mountainous regions.

In another development, a tornado swept through the Gaoqiao Town in Ningbo, a coastal city of East China's Zhejiang Province on Wednesday.

Two people were slightly injured but power supply to parts of downtown neighbourhoods was cut off.

Local witness said the 5-minute tornado hit at about 1:55 am, sweeping tiles from houses.

Official statistics showed that 116 families in six villages in Gaoqiao Town were affected and the damages were estimated at more than 1.8 million yuan(US$216,000).

Experts said the cause of the tornado was hard to determine and Typhoon Aere may have been a factor.

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