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Typhoon Morakot leaves 6 dead on Chinese mainland
Published on: 2009-08-11
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FUZHOU/HANGZHOU, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Typhoon Morakot has left six people dead and three others missing on the Chinese mainland after a powerful landing in east China Sunday, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said late Monday.

Four deaths were reported in Zhejiang Province and one each in Fujian Province and Jiangxi Province, the ministry said. Two people in Zhejiang and another in Fujian are missing.

More than 8.8 million people in the three provinces and Anhui Province as well were affected by Morakot, which forced local authorities to relocate 1.4 million.

It toppled more than 6,000 houses and inundated 387,300 hectares of cropland, the ministry said. Direct economic losses have amounted up to 9 billion yuan (1.3 billion U.S. dollars), it said.

Vice Premier Hui Liangyu headed Monday to worst-hit regions in Fujian and Zhejiang to visit residents as well as military and police staff that are fighting the typhoon.

Hui, also head of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, first visited Xiapu and hard-hit Fuding city upon arriving in Fujian.

He made an on-the-spot inspection of the situation after Typhoon Morakot swept across the region, and visited relocated residents.

Hui asked local governments to be on high alert for flooding, landslides, and mud-rock flows that may occur after heavy rains, and at the same time closely watch the safety of reserviors.

Morakot weakened to become a tropical storm early Monday, yet still caused heavy flooding and grave losses along its path in China.

The Zhejiang Meteorological Station announced Monday that Morakot was slowing and weakening as it was moving northwestward, bringing heavy rain to northern Zhejiang.

In Xiapu county, the typhoon's landing point, at least 136,000 people suffered property losses from flooding and landslides caused by Morakot, which packed winds up to 118 km per hour on its arrival.

Zhang Changjian, deputy county head and director of the county's flood control and drought relief headquarters, said the county's agriculture and fishery industries had been severely battered, with direct losses estimated at 200 million yuan (29 million U.S. dollars).

He said 14 townships were flooded, and eight roads were blocked by floods and landslides.

Xie Xiaoping, manager of the Xiapu Power Co. Ltd., said staff had been working around the clock to ensure power supplies, but some villages saw short blackouts.

A total of 155 passenger vessel sailings were cancelled and more than 48,000 vessels were recalled to ports in Fujian, where 505,000 people were evacuated from their homes as authorities raised the typhoon alarm to a red alert, its highest level, Sunday.

Wenzhou City, in Zhejiang, reported the first death in the typhoon on Sunday after three adults and a 4-year-old boy were buried when the torrential rain brought five houses down. After they were rescued, the boy died, according to the city's flood-control headquarters.

In Zhejiang, more than 3.4 million people suffered property losses as hundreds of villages were flooded and more than 1,800 houses collapsed, according to the Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

In Cangnan, one of Zhejiang's 20 flooded counties, vehicles left parked on main roads were submerged in water measuring 1 meter in depth.

The National Meteorological Center said violent rainstorms would continue in south Jiangsu, southeast Anhui, northeast Jiangxi, Shanghai, most parts of Zhejiang and Fujian, and Taiwan over Monday.

The center issued the highest alert at 6 p.m. Sunday in response to expected rainstorms in these regions, advising people to stop work outdoors, and urging authorities to clear drainage channels in cities and villages.

The center also warned of possible flooding near Taihu Lake, Jiangsu Province, as downpours reached 100 to 130 mm.

The West Lake in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, was closed Sunday, and navigation along the Qiantang River, one of its tributaries, stopped.


Typhoon Morakot also brought great losses to Taiwan. According to the island's disaster response center, Morakot had killed 12 people and injured 52, while 32 were still missing as of Monday.

Taiwan's meteorological department lifted the typhoon alert at 10 a.m., but continued to forecast rainstorms in the area south of Miaoli County.

Although typhoon Morakot has left Taiwan, the weather conditions on Monday remained unstable and some mountainous areas might have very heavy rainstorms, landslide and flooding, the forecast said.

The mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) expressed sympathy to the Taiwan people who suffered from the typhoon via the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

The mainland was deeply concerned with the great losses in Taiwan and conveyed condolences and hoped the Taiwan people could resume normal living and working conditions as soon as possible, said a letter from the ARATS to the SEF on Monday.

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