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Typhoon Kills 20 in South China

Earlier, flights are disrupted in Hong Kong and power goes out in Taiwan, where two die.

September 03, 2003|From Times Wire Services

HONG KONG — Strong winds and torrential rains killed at least 20 people and injured about 100 as a typhoon ground into southern China, officials and state media said today.

The powerful but rapidly weakening storm dumped heavy rain on parts of Guangdong province after lashing neighboring Hong Kong with shrieking gale-force winds, injuring 22 people in the former British colony.

China's official New China News Agency said 16 migrant workers on a construction site were among those killed. It gave no details.

Typhoon Dujuan, the strongest to batter the region in four years, narrowly missed a direct hit on Hong Kong on Tuesday night, and there were no reports of major damage in the territory.

"It came very, very close to us. It passed [nearly 20 miles] away," a spokesman for the Hong Kong Observatory said.

By early today, Dujuan had been downgraded to a severe tropical storm. Severe flooding and violent rainstorms were expected in coastal areas as the storm gradually moved west.

All shipping services in the ports of Guangzhou and Zhuhai had been suspended, state television said. The storm cut power and water supply in the city of Shanwei and in some districts of Shenzhen, directly across the border from Hong Kong.

More than 3,000 passengers were stranded in Shenzhen's airport and train station, the news agency said.

About 300 Hong Kong homes were plunged into darkness. More than 260 flights were canceled or delayed, leaving up to 2,000 travelers stranded at the airport, according to media reports. Schools, shops and other businesses in Hong Kong closed Tuesday afternoon.

The storm first ripped into southeastern Taiwan on Tuesday, killing two people and cutting power to more than half a million homes. One person was still missing there.

Taiwanese officials spent most of this morning assessing the damage from Dujuan, the Mandarin word for azalea. They have already reported $40 million in agricultural losses.

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