Typhoon Haima lashes China; death toll up in Philip­pines

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Typhoon Haima bar­reled into south­ern China on Fri­day af­ter ham­mer­ing the north­ern Philip­pines with fe­ro­cious wind and rain, trig­ger­ing flood­ing, land­slides and power out­ages and killing at least 13 peo­ple.

Chi­nese me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal ser­vices said the typhoon made land­fall shortly af­ter noon in the city of Shan­wei in Guang­dong prov­ince, pack­ing winds of up to 166 kilo­me­ters (103 miles) per hour be­fore weak­en­ing to a trop­i­cal storm.

No ma­jor dam­age was im­me­di­ately re­ported, though re­ports said some vil­lages had ex­pe­ri­enced power out­ages and of­fi­cials were on alert for heavy flood­ing and land­slides.

China had sus­pended dozens of flights and rail ser­vices in sev­eral south­ern prov­inces. In the city of Shen­zhen, au­thor­i­ties or­dered schools, mar­kets and fac­to­ries to close, halted pub­lic trans­porta­tion and evac­u­ated some ar­eas.

Hong Kong hun­kered down as Haima lashed the fi­nan­cial hub with rain and wind gusts of up to 109 kph (68 mph). Schools and of­fices were shut, trad­ing on the stock mar­ket sus­pended and com­muter ferry ser­vices halted af­ter the third most se­ri­ous storm sig­nal was hoisted, leav­ing an eerie calm in the streets of the nor­mally bustling city. More than 740 flights to and from the city’s in­ter­na­tional air­port were can­celed or de­layed. By early af­ter­noon, the storm was about 110 kilo­me­ters (70 miles) east of the city and mov­ing away.

In the Philip­pines, Haima’s blind­ing winds and rain on Thurs­day had rekin­dled fears of the catas­tro­phe wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which left 7,300 dead, but there has been no re­port of any ma­jor dam­age. Large ca­su­al­ties ap­peared to have been averted af­ter more than 100,000 peo­ple fled to safer ground. Sev­eral vil­lages were cut off by fallen trees, land­slides and floods, im­ped­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions and aid.

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