580,000 evac­u­ated, as typhoon hits land

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By HOU LIQIANG in Bei­jing and HUANG ZHILING in Chengdu Con­tact the writ­ers at houliqiang@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

A to­tal of 580,000 peo­ple have been evac­u­ated as typhoon Maria stormed into south­east­ern China on Wednes­day, par­a­lyz­ing rail­way and air trans­porta­tion in some ar­eas, au­thor­i­ties said.

The typhoon, the eighth in China this year, made land­fall about 9 am on Wednes­day in Lian­jiang county, Fu­jian prov­ince, bring­ing gales of up to 151 kilo­me­ters per hour at its cen­ter. All those evac­u­ated are from Fu­jian and neigh­bor­ing Zhe­jiang prov­ince, ac­cord­ing to the State Flood Con­trol and Drought Re­lief Head­quar­ters.

Maria is the first typhoon this year to trig­ger a red alert from the Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Cen­ter, the high­est in China's four-tier sys­tem for se­vere weather.

As of 4 pm, the typhoon caused a di­rect eco­nomic loss of at least 490 mil­lion yuan ($73.4 mil­lion).

The strong gales up­rooted many trees, broke fish­ing boats and caused haz­ards on roads in Lian­jiang, a fish­ing county. Chen Zu­liang, a mem­ber of the county's flood con­trol of­fice, said that more than 8,000 res­i­dents had been evac­u­ated in the county.

Fu­jian or­dered all fish­ing boats to re­turn to har­bor by noon on Tues­day and work­ers at off­shore fish farms were re­quired to re­turn to land by 6 pm.

The head­quar­ters also said the typhoon brought tor­ren­tial rains in the two prov­inces, with pre­cip­i­ta­tion of up to 238 mil­lime­ters from 2 am to 1 pm. The sea level in Shacheng mon­i­tor­ing sta­tion in Fu­jian at 7:20 am on Wednes­day reached 4.4 me­ters, the high­est on record since 1956. The speed of the gale at the typhoon’s cen­ter de­creased to 83 k/h by 1 pm, the head­quar­ters said.

Hun­dreds of trains from or go­ing to Fu­jian were halted, and 178 flights have been can­celed at Fuzhou Changle In­ter­na­tional Air­port, ac­cord­ing to trans­porta­tion au­thor­i­ties.

Fu­jian fire au­thor­i­ties en­tered “com­bat readi­ness” mode at 8 am on Tues­day. While es­tab­lish­ing 144 sixmem­ber res­cue teams, it has also mo­bi­lized abun­dant res­cue equip­ment and dis­as­ter­re­lief ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing boats and life vests, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Emer­gency Man­age­ment.

The min­istry also said more than 5,800 tech­ni­cians with ex­per­tise in ge­o­log­i­cal dis­as­ter con­trol have been in po­si­tions to deal with re­sult­ing prob­lems.

The typhoon was ex­pected to en­ter Jiangxi prov­ince on Wednes­day night as it weak­ened into a trop­i­cal de­pres­sion.

Sichuan prov­ince was also trou­bled by tor­ren­tial rains on Wednes­day that re­sulted in causal­i­ties.

Three peo­ple from one fam­ily in Nianzi vil­lage in Qingchuan county, Sichuan, were found dead from a rain-in­duced land­slide on Wednes­day morn­ing, ac­cord­ing to Wang Wei, an in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer from the Qingchuan county govern­ment.

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