Typhoon hits China, then weakens to storm

Typhoon Krosa crashed into the Chinese coast on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of 1,4-million people, after killing five in Taiwan as it lashed the island with heavy rain and high winds.

The typhoon made landfall near the borders of densely populated Zhejiang and Fujian provinces in south-east China at about 7.30am GMT, packing winds of up to 126kph, before weakening.

No casualties were reported and the local flood-prevention authorities later downgraded Krosa to a common tropical storm as it lost strength moving north at 20kph, Xinhua news agency reported.

Tug boats were struggling in strong winds to rescue a Hong Kong-registered cargo ship, with 27 crew on board, that was caught in the storm about 30km off the coast when its engines failed.

Xinhua said the Aladdin Dream, crewed by sailors from Russia, India and the Philippines, was in no danger of sinking or capsizing.

The authorities took no chances with Krosa, which means crane in Khmer.

Zhejiang province alone evacuated 962 000 people from the path of the storm, including half a million holiday-makers who had flocked to the seaside for China’s week-long National Day holiday ending on Sunday.

Schools, airports and motorways in some areas were closed, while 75 000 vessels were recalled to harbour. The storm dumped as much as 300mm of rain in some places.

Krosa earlier wrought havoc in Taiwan as a category-four typhoon.

A landslide killed two people in a mountainous area of the capital, Taipei, while isolated accidents caused by high winds killed another two. A traffic accident caused the fifth casualty, Taiwan’s National Fire Agency reported.

Driving rain flooded homes, blocked roads and downed trees across the island, cutting power to 2,2-million homes and businesses, the agency said.

Power was restored to most homes on Sunday but many flights were cancelled.—Reuters

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