|September 24, 2013|
Typhoon Usagi kills 25 in China
At least 25 people have been confirmed dead after typhoon Usagi made a landfall in South China's Guangdong province Sunday evening, according to the provincial flood control headquaters.
The deaths were spread across a wide area of eastern Guangdong, with 13 people found dead in Shanwei city, six in Shantou city, one in Chaozhou city, two in Jieyang city, and one in Heyuan city, according to the official website of the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.
Electricity and water supply was cut off in the Huilai county, Jieyang city, and houses were toppled as wind speeds at the center exceeded 180 km per hour on Sunday afternoon, said Li Feng, a border police officer of the city, Xinhua reported Sunday.
Border police have been mobilized to help with disaster relief there.
Li said a woman was missing after the fishing boat she and her husband were on was capsized. The husband was found alive, but hopes for his wife, who cannot swim, were slim.
Intercity trains between Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai were suspended at 6 pm and nearly 50 trains, including those along the high-speed lines to Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, will be suspended until Tuesday, according to the Guangzhou Railway (Group) Corporation.
At a Xiecheng gas station on National Road 324 near Shanwei city, winds were strong enough to blow cars off the road and all traffic was stopped.
Resident Li Huolong said he was on his way home in Shanwei, when the back window of his car was broken by the wind.
Luo Hailing, an attendant who has worked at the station for years, said, "it is the strongest typhoon I have ever encountered. So terrible. Luckily, we made preparations."
She said the station received a circular to prepare for the typhoon on Thursday, and they had covered all the machinery with tarpaulins before the typhoon hit.
Cities including Shanwei, Zhuhai, Shantou, Huizhou and Jieyang have initiated the highest emergency response for wind protection, said He Guoqing, executive deputy director of the provincial flood, drought and wind control office.
More than 47,000 fishing boats are in harbor, with nearly 20,000 fishermen kept onshore, He said.
Educational authorities in 14 cities ordered schools to suspend classes on Sunday, a school day in China because of the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival which just ended.
All beaches in the province have been closed.
Almost 5,000 tourists had been evacuated from the city of Taishan and more than 2,500 workers building the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge had been evacuated with facilities at sea temporarily disassembled and stabilized ahead of the typhoon's landing.
Guangdong is a major base for China's nuclear power stations and emergency response schemes have been activated. Four of the six generating units at Dayawan are operating at reduced load and construction has stopped at Yangjiang and Taishan nuclear plants, according to the China General Nuclear Power Group, which runs the plants.
According to the provincial weather station, the super typhoon will weaken to tropical storm and enter the neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Monday afternoon.
Hundreds of flights in Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Hong Kong and Macao were canceled or delayed on Sunday. Shipping between Fujian and Taiwan has also been suspended.
The Fujian Provincial Flood Control Headquarters warned that storm tides could threaten coastal embankments as the typhoon coincided with the rising tide, bringing a record high of sea levels on Monday morning.
Thousands of people have been evacuated from low-lying coastal areas and border police in Yunxiao County are rushing to repair two embankment sections that were damaged by strong waves.
In Hong Kong, the typhoon forced schools, amusement parks and bathing beaches to close on Sunday.
Hong Kong Observatory issued a No. 8 storm signal, the third highest level, at 6:40 p.m., as local weather experts believe Usagi is the strongest typhoon that affected Hong Kong in 50 years.
Mass Transit Railway (MTR) trains and rail services all over the city are still running but trains above ground will be halted if the wind grows stronger. Ferries and some bus services have also been halted, according to Hong Kong MTR Corporation.