Sunday, October 7, 2007

1.4 million in China flee deadly storm

  • More than 1.4 million people evacuated as storm hits China's coast
  • Five killed in Taiwan after Typhoon Krosa strikes Saturday
  • Typhoon weakens to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 66 mph

BEIJING, China (AP) -- A storm drenched China's southeast on Sunday after killing five people on Taiwan and prompting the evacuation of 1.4 million people on the mainland, officials said. In Vietnam, the death toll from a separate storm rose to 55.


A giant wave whipped up by Typhoon Krosa hits the shore near the Nanfangaou harbor in eastern Taiwan.

Krosa came ashore as a typhoon in China's Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, but weakened and was soon downgraded to a tropical storm, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

It said no deaths or injuries were reported, but the storm wrecked houses and knocked out power in the port city of Wenzhou as torrential rains swept the region.

More than 1.4 million people were evacuated from coastal areas, including more than 500,000 tourists who were at beach resorts for the National Day holiday week, Xinhua said.

Some 75,000 fishing vessels in the two provinces were ordered back to port and trips by ferries and sightseeing boats were canceled, the agency said.

Krosa -- the Cambodian word for crane -- killed five people Saturday on Taiwan as it knocked out power to 2 million homes and soaked the island, according to Taiwan's Disaster Relief Center.

Two men were killed in suburban Taipei when a landslide buried their house, the center said. A man died after falling from his balcony in Hsinchu and a woman was electrocuted after falling from her motorcycle in Tainan. A man's body was also recovered from a hostel that was hit by a landslide in Ilan and another man was missing.

Early Sunday, China's coast guard rescued 27 sailors from a Hong Kong freighter that suffered mechanical failure after it was hit by the storm off Wenzhou, Xinhua said.

In Shanghai, where the Special Olympics is taking place, the city government canceled vacations for flood-control workers and was drafting plans to drain competition sites, the agency said.

Meanwhile, the death toll from Typhoon Lekima, which hit Vietnam's central coast late Wednesday, rose to 55, with another 16 people missing, officials said Sunday.

The death toll in Vietnam's worst-hit central province of Nghe An rose to 22 after eight more bodies were discovered over the past two days, said provincial disaster official Pham Hong Thuong.

"Communication to many parts of the province is still cut off," Thuong said. "The death toll is likely to rise."

Lekima, named after a local fruit, also damaged about 77,000 homes, the government said.

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