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August 5, 2009

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Double-barreled storms threaten

CHINA'S meteorological and disaster relief agencies set emergency response plans in motion yesterday as two tropical storms headed toward the country's coastline.

The State Disaster Relief Commission and the Ministry of Civil Affairs advised governments in six provinces and autonomous regions to prepare for the approaching storms.

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters also urged local authorities to increase checks on buildings, construction sites, municipal infrastructure and reservoirs for weaknesses that could make them vulnerable to flooding.

Guangdong and Hainan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the south are expected to bear the worst of Goni, the seventh tropical storm to menace China this year.

The China Meteorological Administration said yesterday that Goni was likely to hit coastal areas from Hong Kong to Taishan in Guangdong as early as noon today. Strong winds, dangerous waves and heavy rains were expected in the South China Sea and costal areas in Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan last night.

The civil affairs ministry asked local emergency departments to remain on high alert for possible flooding and other threats while preparing evacuation plans. The ministry ordered disaster relief centers in Hefei, Changsha and Nanning to prepare emergency shelter and relief materials.

The eighth tropical storm, Morakot, east of Taiwan last night, was moving northwestward toward the mainland and will probably hit the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian on Friday.

Liu Ning, secretary-general of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said yesterday that the combined effect of the two storms could increase their destructive power and make conditions unpredictable.


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