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August 8, 2012

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Evacuees take it in their stride

IT was late afternoon yesterday when the rain began to fall, an early sign that Typhoon Haikui was approaching.

The raindrops, falling faster under a darkening sky, didn't seem to bother Zeng Huayin, holding his bamboo mat and daily necessities, wondering which way to go.

"I think I just go with others," said Zeng, a migrant worker from central China, looking over to see people with similar gear heading for a bus.

Zeng was among 300 households in Jinwei Village in coastal Jinshan District who were moved from their homes to the shelter of a nearby school. They were among 27,000 people in the district, from fishermen to construction workers, who were being relocated.

"I guess it's a once a year event," said a villager surnamed Mou, who runs a small grocery store. He was trying to take a freezer with him on his tricycle.

They were hustled to safety by officials and police in the same way last year before an approaching typhoon, which turned out to miss the city.

At the school, people were already finding ways to amuse themselves as they prepared for a long and anxious night away from home.

Yang Guofang was doing cross-stitch embroidery together with his daughter sitting on the floor of a classroom which will be their temporary home for the night and possibly for the next few days.

Yang's son was happily playing around with other kids, passing groups of adults playing cards. Each classroom can hold about 20 people and another school gym was ready for more people, government officials said.

With thousands of ships taking shelter from the storm, fish sellers were packing up their stalls early.

One fisherman, surnamed Wu, was trying to sell his last yellow croaker at Jinshan's Jinshanzui fishing village.

"The waves come fast and go fast, I do not worry that much," said Wu, whose fishing boat was anchored in the harbor. "I have seen much worse."

Close to Wu's stall, children were paddling in the shallow waters, but watching as high waves from time to time splashed a bank 100 meters out to sea.

"It's fun out there," a boy said.


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