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Typhoon Hits Chinese Coast Near Hong Kong; 93 Dead in Philippines

July 12, 1986|United Press International

HONG KONG — Typhoon Peggy, which left 93 people dead in a rampage across the northern Philippines, brushed past Hong Kong on Friday and slammed into the south China coast with winds up to 80 m.p.h.

The typhoon was downgraded to a severe tropical storm four hours after it struck China near Shanwei, about 70 miles east-northeast of Hong Kong.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries in this British colony--the world's third-largest financial center--or in China.

China's official New China News Agency said the storm battered Guangdong's Jiazi Harbor and Lufeng County, where torrential rains and winds damaged houses and high-tension wires, flooded rice paddies and destroyed sugar cane fields and an estimated 100,000 tons of grain.

Hong Kong Paralyzed

In Hong Kong, rain and winds lashed the ship-choked harbor and caused activity to grind to a virtual halt.

This city's normal blaze of neon was darkened by government order and workers fought for space on buses or walked home through the storm. Hard-to-find taxis were charging up to five times the normal tariff for a trip.

Peggy, which lost strength during its daylong trek across the South China Sea, registered winds up to 109 m.p.h. when it first whipped the Philippines on Wednesday. Winds from the typhoon, the Pacific version of a hurricane, dropped to below 74 m.p.h. on Friday evening, becoming a tropical storm.

In the Philippines on Friday, President Corazon Aquino declared an emergency in several provinces where officials worked to calculate the costs of Peggy's passage, which left 45,000 people homeless.

93 Dead in Philippines

Combined reports from the Red Cross, the Philippine constabulary, the state-run Philippine News Agency, local authorities and the military's Office of Civil Defense put the overall death toll at 93 from the first major typhoon to hit the Philippines this year.

Initial reports reaching Manila indicated the storm caused $10.6 million damage in three northern provinces as it knocked down power lines, uprooted crops, washed away bridges and destroyed the homes of 36,000 people. Officials counted 9,744 left homeless elsewhere in the country.

In Manila, Aquino visited 300 evacuees at a church and said she would release $550,000 for relief services. Social welfare officials took advantage of the improving weather to begin airlifting relief supplies to the northern provinces.

"The damage to property has been extensive and the loss of lives has made this calamity a tragedy as well," Aquino said. She declared a "state of calamity in the provinces affected" by the typhoon.

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