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August 6, 2009

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S. China is soaked as Goni hits coast

TROPICAL storm Goni brought intense rainfall to south China after it landed early yesterday in Taishan in Guangdong Province.

The maritime affairs department in the island province of Hainan earlier issued an emergency warning to 20,000 fishing vessels in the South China Sea, calling them to harbor.

Another tropical storm, Morakot, strengthened into a typhoon and is expected to make a landfall as early as late tomorrow in central and northern Fujian, forecasters said.

Emergency authorities have put in place plans to evacuate residents amid other efforts to reduce losses from Morakot.

Severe rainstorms also wreaked havoc in other parts of the country yesterday.

In Suichuan, Jiangxi Province, flash floods knocked down five houses and killed at least three people. Rain-related disasters also killed two people in Guizhou Province and another two in neighboring Chongqing Municipality.

Also yesterday, the Chinese government urged stepped-up efforts to fight what is expected to be the worst flooding in the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River since August 2004.

The maximum inflow into the Three Gorges Dam is expected to reach 56,000 cubic meters a second, the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters warned yesterday.

The headquarters ordered the Danjiangkou Dam, located at the junction of two main tributaries of the Yangtze, the Hanjiang and Danjiang rivers, to open one of its sluices yesterday for the first time this year to ease the potential for major flooding.

Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei said a critical stage in fighting the floods had been reached, and called on governments in Sichuan, Hubei and Shaanxi provinces and Chongqing Municipality to continue their efforts to stem the rising waters.


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