World

Typhoon Fitow kills 5 in eastern China, 4 others missing

A typhoon slammed into southeastern China on Monday with powerful winds and heavy rains that killed at least five people, cut power, cancelled flights and suspended train services.

Typhoon Fitow downgraded to a tropical storm

Typhoon Fitow made landfall in Fujian province with winds in excess of 150 kilometres an hour early Monday, then slowed before weakening to a tropical storm, the National Meteorological Centre said. A storm surge preceded the typhoon on Sunday. (China Daily/Reuters)

A typhoon slammed into southeastern China on Monday with powerful winds and heavy rains that killed at least five people, cut power, cancelled flights and suspended train services.

Typhoon Fitow struck Fuding city in Fujian province with winds of up to 151 kilometres an hour in the early morning, then slowed before weakening to a tropical storm, the National Meteorological Centre said.

More than half a million people had been evacuated and fishing boats were called back to port while authorities issued a red alert – the highest warning – on Sunday as the typhoon approached.

The provincial flood relief agency in Zhejiang, which neighbours Fujian, said 574,000 people had been evacuated by Sunday evening and 35,800 vessels returned to shore. Fujian's government said 177,000 people had been moved to safety and nearly 30,000 fishing boats called back.

The typhoon cut power in towns and counties in Zhejiang while high-speed rail services in the region were suspended. At least 27 flights out of Wenzhou airport in Zhejiang were cancelled on Sunday, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Before hitting China, Fitow brushed the northern tip of Taiwan, causing flight disruptions and dumping heavy rain on the island. Only minimal damage and no casualties were reported. (Chiang Ying-ying/Associated Press)

Xinhua said two people were killed in Wenzhou, including a 55-year-old man who was blown off a hill while heading out to help rescue a stranded fisherman. It said another three people were electrocuted in the Zhejiang city of Rui'an.

Four other people were reported missing in the province, Xinhua said. Calls to the city's flood relief agency and other government and Communist Party offices rang unanswered Monday.

Economic losses in the two provinces were estimated at about 12 billion yuan ($2 billion), Xinhua said.

Before striking China, Fitow skirted the northern coast of Taiwan, causing many flight disruptions and dumping large quantities of rain on the island, but resulting in only minimal damage and no casualties.

Officials said more than 200 domestic and international flights were delayed or cancelled and several hundred people were evacuated from northern Taiwanese communities considered vulnerable to rain-induced mudslides.

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