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3 dead as super typhoon hits the mainland

At least three people were killed as typhoon Usagi, the strongest of the year, made landfall in south China’s Guangdong Province yesterday, local authorities said.

The super typhoon, packing winds up to 162 kilometers per hour at its center, came ashore at 7:40pm in east Guangdong’s Shanwei City, according to the provincial meteorological station.

Before the storm came ashore, a tree was felled by strong winds in Shantou City, killing two people and injuring another, the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said.

The third death was reported in Jinghai Township of Huilai County in the city of Jieyang, where a villager was killed by fallen window pane, said Li Feng, a border police officer in the city.

Electricity and water supply was cut off in the county, and houses were toppled as wind speeds at the center exceeded 180 kph during the afternoon, Li said. Border police have been mobilized to help with disaster relief there.

Li said a woman was missing after the fishing boat she and her husband were on was capsized. The husband was found alive, but hopes for his wife, who cannot swim, were slim.

Intercity trains between Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai were suspended at 6pm and nearly 50 trains, including those along the high-speed lines to Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, will be suspended until Tuesday, according to railway officials.

 At a Xiecheng gas station on National Road 324 near Shanwei City, winds were strong enough to blow cars off the road and all traffic was stopped.

Local resident Li Huolong said he was on his way home in Shanwei, when the back window of his car was shattered by the wind.

Luo Hailing, an attendant who has worked at the station for years, said, “It is the strongest typhoon I have ever encountered. So terrible. Luckily, we made preparations.”

She said the station received a circular to prepare for the typhoon on Thursday, and they had covered all the machinery with tarpaulins before the typhoon hit.

Cities including Shanwei, Zhuhai, Shantou, Huizhou and Jieyang have initiated the highest emergency response for wind protection, said He Guoqing, executive deputy director of the provincial flood, drought and wind control office. More than 47,000 fishing boats are in harbor, with nearly 20,000 fishermen kept onshore, He said.

Education authorities in 14 cities ordered schools to suspend classes yesterday, a school day in China after the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival.

Almost 5,000 tourists had been evacuated from the city of Taishan and more than 2,500 workers building the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge had been evacuated.

Guangdong is a major base for China’s nuclear power stations and emergency response schemes have been activated. Four of the six generating units at Dayawan are operating at reduced load and construction has stopped at Yangjiang and Taishan nuclear plants, according to the China General Nuclear Power Group.

Hundreds of flights in Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Hong Kong and Macau were canceled or delayed yesterday and shipping between Fujian and Taiwan has been suspended.



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