Typhoon Fitow – Chaos in China
A powerful typhoon has made landfall in eastern China forcing tens of thousands out of their homes.
Typhoon Fitow struck Fuding city in Fujian province in the early morning with winds of almost 100mph, then slowed before weakening to a tropical storm, said meteorologists.
At least five people have been killed.
Dramatic TV pictures showed huge waves battering coastal defences. The spectacle drew crowds despite warnings.
“I heard that the tidal bores can be bigger when a typhoon is near. So I came here to watch,” one spectator told Chinese TV.
“It was very impressive. I’ve never seen waves huger than these today,” another said.
Soldiers from China’s vast army have been drafted in to build levees and to help evacuate residents form their homes.
Across several eastern provinces, half a million people have been moved from their homes as a precaution.
Thousands of fishing boats were ordered back to port as the authorities issued the highest warning – a red alert.
In the neighbouring Zhejiang Province, the flood relief agency has issued detailed figures giving a sense of the scale of the disruption.
They say that 574,000 people have been evacuated and 35,800 fishing boats called back to port.
China’s Xinhua News Agency said two people were killed in Wenzhou, including a 55-year-old man who was knocked over on a hill by the wind while heading out to help rescue a stranded fisherman.
It said another three people were electrocuted in the Zhejiang city of Rui’an.
Four other people were reported missing in the province, Xinhua said.
Travel will be disrupted for sometime. The high-speed rail network, which now criss-crosses vast parts of China, has been suspended in both Fujian and Zhejiang.
Power lines are down and flooding is making access for repair teams difficult.
At least 27 flights out of Zhejiang’s Wenzhou Airport have been cancelled.
Fitow, named after a Micronesian flower, is the 23rd typhoon to hit China this year. It comes just two weeks after Typhoon Usagi left 25 people dead in southern China.
As predicted, the storm is now weakening as it progresses westwards. Nevertheless, four more provinces are preparing for a few days of high winds, heavy rains and plenty of disruption.
By Mark Stone, Asia Correspondent
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