One million flee as deadly storm slams into China

A girl is carried out from mudslide caused by Typhoon Morakot in southern Taiwan on Monday.
A deadly typhoon that slammed into China’s coastal provinces and Taiwan over the weekend has displaced nearly one million people and left dozens missing, state-run media reported Monday.

High winds and torrential rain from Typhoon Morakot hit coastal provinces Fujian and Zhejian hardest, and caused the worst flooding in decades in Taiwan — where flood waters as high as seven feet were reported, China Daily said. The typhoon swept across the Philippines and Taiwan’s Hualien region before crashing into eastern China, claiming nearly two dozens lives along the way, the newspaper reported. The storm — measuring about 1,600 kilometers (about 1,000 miles) across — continued to pummel coastal China on Monday, but forecasters said it is unlikely that Morakot would reach Shanghai, the country’s largest city, which sits farther north along the coast. Government officials expect the typhoon to cause more than 8.5 million yuan ($1.2 billion) in damages, the newspaper said. The storm made landfall in the coastal area of Beibi town, Xiapu county, in Fujian province, about 4:20 p.m. Sunday (4:20 a.m. Sunday ET), according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. Morakot’s winds were clocked at 118 kilometers per hour (73 mph) in its eye, according to the province’s meteorological bureau, as cited by Xinhua. Video from Taiwan showed a six-story hotel crashing into the floodwaters coursing below. The well-known hot springs resort had evacuated before the collapse. At least 12 people were killed, 32 wounded and 56 unaccounted for, according to the Taiwanese government. Government officials said Monday that 1.5 million homes were without electricity, and 440,000 were without water. In China, five houses were destroyed as the front of the typhoon brought flooding rains to Wenzhou city in neighboring Zhejiang province just after 8 a.m. Sunday, Xinhua said. Three adults and a 4-year-old boy were buried in debris about 8 a.m. Rescuers could not save the child, the city’s flood-control headquarters told the news agency. A “red alert” — the highest degree in danger levels — was issued in Zhejiang, where more than 35,000 vessels were called back from sea, China Daily reported, citing provincial flood control officials. More than 300 homes collapsed, and more than 16,000 hectares (39,500 acres) were flooded, Xinhua said. The city’s airport was closed and 56 roads were rendered impassable.

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Typhoon Morakot lashes Taiwan

Weather Forecast: Shanghai

Weather Forecast: Taipei

As the eye of the storm reached Beibi, the sky turned completely dark, and people caught in rainstorms staggered as they used flashlights to see, Xinhua reported. Trees were uprooted and torn apart by damaging winds. Farmers tried to recapture large numbers of fish, flushed from mudflat fish farms by high winds, Xinhua said. Nearly 1 million people were evacuated from Fujian and Zhejiang provinces as Morakot approached. Late Friday, the storm lashed Taiwan, killing two people, wounding 15 and cutting power to about 650,000 households, according to Hong Kong’s Metro Radio. Meanwhile, another typhoon hit western Japan on Monday, with 13 people confirmed dead. Twenty others were missing, police said. Among the victims of Typhoon Etau was a 68-year-old woman who died when a landslide caused a hill to collapse on her home in Okayama prefecture, police said.

In neighboring Hyogo prefecture, an 86-year-old woman was found dead in her flooded house and a 54-year-old man in his submerged car. Officials expect the number of victims to rise as torrential rains continue.