Typhoon Chan-hom devastates China coast, 1.1 million evacuated

  • AP, Beijing
  • Updated: Jul 12, 2015 10:45 IST
More than 865,000 people have been evacuated from China's eastern province of Zhejiang ahead of Typhoon Chan-Hom's landfall, state news agency Xinhua said (REUTERS Photo)

A typhoon pounded the Chinese stretch of coast south of Shanghai on Saturday with strong gales and heavy rainfall, subemerging roads, felling trees and resulting in the emergency evacuation of 1.1 million people.

Typhoon Chan-hom slammed ashore with winds of up to 160 kilometers (100 miles) per hour near Zhoushan, a city east of the port of Ningbo in Zhejiang province. It has dumped more than 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain since late Friday - about a month's average in less than 24 hours, China Central Television and the Xinhua News Agency reported.

No deaths or injuries have been reported by Saturday evening.

"It was so windy that the rain came in through the windows even though they were closed," Zhoushan resident Zhang Zhouqun, 53, manager of a logistics company, said in a telephone interview.

The storm felled 10-year-old trees in his neighborhood, stranded cars in 60-centimeter (2-foot) - deep water and swamped half the fields, Zhang said. Police were out barring people from trying to drive. At the urging of local officials, Zhang's family had stocked up a few days' worth of groceries, he said.

Some 1.1 million people had been evacuated from coastal areas of Zhejiang and more than 46,000 in neighboring Jiangsu province ahead of the storm, Xinhua said. The provincial flood control bureau said 28,764 ships had been ordered back to port.

The national weather service said earlier the typhoon might be the strongest to strike China since the communist government took power in 1949. It initially was deemed a super-typhoon but was downgraded at midday Saturday to a strong typhoon and was weakening further as it moved inland.

Heavy downpour was reported in some areas, including the village of Lai'ao, which recorded more than 400 millimeters (16 inches) of rain, according to Xinhua.

More than 100 trains and 600 flights were canceled in the cities of Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou and Taizhou, according to Xinhua. Buses and passenger ferries also suspended service.

Earlier, Chan-hom caused 20 injuries as it moved over islands in southern Japan, Kyodo news agency reported.

The storm dumped rain on the northern Philippines and Taiwan, where several flights were suspended. The stock market and public offices were closed Friday in Taipei, Taiwan's capital.

Chan-hom is the second major storm to hit China this week, after Typhoon Linfa forced 56,000 people from their homes in the southern province of Guangdong province.

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