Torrential rains drenched China's southeastern coast on Sunday as the government downgraded Typhoon Megi to a tropical depression and more than 300,000 evacuees waited to return to their battered homes.
Megi hit China on Saturday, dumping up to 33 centimeters (13 inches) of rain on coastal villages after the storm cut a swath of destruction through the first the Philippines and then Taiwan. Landslides and flooding in Taiwan killed as many as 31 people, and Megi killed at least 28 people in the northern Philippines. No deaths were reported in China, but news reports said there was extensive damage to fishing boats and shellfish beds in coastal Fujian province, where more heavy rain was falling on Sunday. An estimated 313,700 people were evacuated and authorities were deciding Sunday whether it was safe for them to return, said an employee of the Fujian provincial Flood Control Headquarters. "After checking the safety of houses, different areas can decide when to allow people to return," said the employee, who would give only her surname, Li.
China's weather bureau downgraded Megi to a tropical storm on Saturday as its wind speeds slowed and later lowered its status to a depression. The government lifted a typhoon alert early Sunday. In Taiwan, the government said Saturday that rescuers found mangled vehicle parts thought to be a missing bus carrying 19 Chinese tourists. Nine people were buried in a landslide at a Buddhist temple and three others drowned in their homes. The bus passengers were among 23 people still missing on the island.
In China, the storm forced the cancellation of nearly 80 flights at the airport in Xiamen, a business center in the southern part of Fujian.
Megi bypassed Vietnam, but the country's central provinces were battered by rain over the past week that killed at least 75 people and forced more than 170,000 people from their homes. Thailand also suffered flooding and the government said the death toll was at least 23.