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At Least 9 Killed as Typhoon Hits China

September 08, 2002|From Associated Press

BEIJING — Typhoon Sinlaku tore through eastern China, killing nine people and forcing about 350,000 to evacuate as torrential rains and high winds battered the area, state media and officials said today.

Three other people were reported missing after the storm hit land near the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province Saturday night, the official New China News Agency said.

An official in Wenzhou, a large industrial city of 7 million on the coast, said the storm's impact was still being assessed. He would not provide details.

There were reports that the storm had toppled homes, uprooted trees and cut power lines.

The storm had sustained winds of 81 mph, a weather office spokesman said, offering no additional information.

About 48,000 people working on fish and shellfish farms outside Wenzhou were moved inside the seawall, the New China News Agency and China Central Television reported.

Children and elderly residents of Qidu island off Wenzhou, with a population of 10,000, were evacuated to the mainland in anticipation of high tides, gales and torrential rains, the reports said.

Other people were evacuated from mountain villages vulnerable to flash floods and landslides.

Authorities in Wenzhou ordered nearly 6,000 fishing boats to port and canceled ferry service along the coast, which is dotted with dozens of islands.

State television showed palm trees shaking violently in the wind and bridges nearly submerged by high tides. Whitecaps smashed against jetties and breakwaters.

Soldiers wearing bright-orange life vests over their fatigues drilled in front of trucks neatly parked in a row.

Taiwan escaped destruction Saturday because the eye of the storm passed 140 miles northeast of the capital, Taipei, said Lee Hsiang-yuan, a bureau forecaster.

Two people were lost at sea after their rubber raft flipped over near the northeastern city of Ilan, and a 26-year-old woman was presumed dead after being swept away by violent surf near the eastern city of Hualien.

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