Rescuers try to reach a man who is stranded by floods as Typhoon Morakot approaches in Shanghai on Monday. A child was killed and houses were flattened after the hurricane battered China's eastern coast on Sunday. ((Reuters))

Typhoon Morakot slammed into China's eastern coast on Sunday just hours after nearly one million people were ordered to leave the area.

The typhoon, which inflicted death and destruction in Taiwan on Friday, forced more than 490,000 people in China's Zhejiang province and 480,000 in neighbouring Fujian to leave early Sunday.

The hurricane, which later weakened to a tropical storm, destroyed hundreds of homes and flooded thousands of hectares of farmland, and was responsible for the death of a four-year-old boy who was in a building that collapsed, officials said.

Morakot made landfall in Xiapu, a county in Fujian, carrying heavy rain and winds of up 119 km/h, according to an official at the China Meteorological Administration who refused to give his name or provide other details.

About 48,000 boats were ordered back to harbour by authorities in Fujian.

Local authorities in Zhejiang were forced to drain water from Tai Lake on the Yangtze River, according to reports on Chinese state-run television channel CCTV.

Thirty-nine outbound flights from Wenzhou city in Zhejiang were cancelled on Sunday, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Before arriving in China, Morakot left behind a trail of devastation in Taiwan and the Philippines. Dozens there were killed or missing. A hotel in Taiwan collapsed after being battered by the storm, which caused the island's worst flooding in 50 years, authorities said.

Morakot is the first typhoon to hit the area this year. Typhoons frequently move in between July and September, often causing injuries and deaths in mountainous regions prone to landslides and flash floods.

With files from The Associated Press