At least one dead, 145,000 evacuated as typhoon hits south China

Other News Materials 24 September 2008 15:18 (UTC +04:00)

At least one person died and tens of thousands were evacuated Wednesday as Typhoon Hagupit brought gales and torrential rain to much of southern China, reported dpa.

The island province of Hainan evacuated about 107,000 people from vulnerable areas while two cities in nearby Guangdong province moved more than 38,000 as the typhoon approached, news reports said.

Hagupit made landfall in Guangdong's Dianbai county near the city of Maoming, packing winds of more than 200 kilometres per hour at its centre, the government's Xinhua news agency quoted meteorologists as saying.

One man died in Dianbai after he was blown down while trying to repair the roof of his house, the local Yangcheng Evening News said.

Gales uprooted many trees and tore down billboards while officials in Maoming said a fishing boat sank off Dianbai but no casualties were reported, Xinhua said.

All schools were closed in the worst-hit areas of Guangdong, and streets were deserted during the morning rush hour, it said.

Some reports said the typhoon was the worst to buffet Guangdong in a decade.

It weakened into a tropical storm later Wednesday, but heavy rain was forecast to continue on Thursday, bringing the risk of floods and landslides.

A team of 130 police officers battled for four hours early Wednesday to rescue about 50 people stranded when their village was flooded, the agency said.

Guangdong on Tuesday had called back to port more than 50,000 fishing vessels with nearly 200,000 crew.

Most flights in Guangdong's busy Shenzhen airport were cancelled Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, and all flights were cancelled at the main airport in Haikou, Hainan's capital.

Hagupit also grounded flights, closed schools and injured at least 58 people as it skirted Hong Kong early Wednesday.

Typhoon Hagupit, whose name means "lashing" in Filipino, caused eight deaths Monday when it raged across the northern Philippines before crossing the South China Sea.