Nearly half a million evacuated as storm left by typhoon Nepartak hits China
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The remains of super typhoon Nepartak made landfall in China’s eastern Fujian province on Saturday, bringing high winds and heavy rain, and forcing the relocation of hundreds of thousands of people.
At least 420,000 people in four cities including the capital Fuzhou have been urgently relocated, state news agency Xinhua reported. More than 300 high speed trains, almost 400 flights and nearly 5,000 buses have also been cancelled.
The storm hit land in Fujian province just before 2 p.m., lashing Shishi city with winds of around 100 kph (62 mph), Xinhua said.
More than 250 mm (10 inches) of rain fell in about four hours early on Saturday in the nearby city of Putian, where nearly 23,000 people have fanned out to check over-strained water management systems, it added.
Tropical Storm Risk had rated the typhoon as category 5, at the top of its scale, but it weakened after crossing Taiwan and hit China’s Fujian province as a tropical storm.
In Taiwan the storm caused at least three deaths and more than 300 injuries.
The storm is expected to worsen already severe flooding in parts of central and eastern China, particularly in the major city of Wuhan.
Typhoons are common at this time of year in the South China Sea, picking up strength over warm waters and dissipating over land.
Typhoons used to kill many people in China but the government now enforces evacuations and takes precautions well in advance, which has helped save many lives.
In 2009, Typhoon Morakot cut a wide swathe of destruction through southern Taiwan, killing about 700 people and causing up to $3 billion of damage.
(Reporting by Nathaniel Taplin; Editing by Clarence Fernandez/Ruth Pitchford)