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October 5, 2015

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3 killed, 80 hurt as typhoon strikes

THREE people were killed and at least 80 were injured yesterday when a tornado hit the city Foshan in south China’s Guangdong Province.

The high winds that hit the city’s Shunde District were caused by Typhoon Mujigae, which made landfall near the city of Zhanjiang in Guangdong just after 2pm.

Tens of thousands of people across southern China were evacuated, while flights and rail services were canceled as Mujigae struck, bringing powerful winds and heavy rain to the region, according to the National Meteorological Center.

The center had already issued a red alert — China’s highest level of weather preparedness — warning that as much as 280 millimeters of rain could fall in some places from yesterday morning to today.

In Foshan, dozens of power lines were damaged, resulting in a blackout in its two major districts, the local government said.

Maritime safety authorities in Zhanjiang said that some vessels were stranded at sea, but no casualties have been reported.

More than 500 tourists were stranded on Fangji Island, a popular scenic spot administered by Maoming in Guangdong, said the city’s office handling floods, droughts and typhoons.

Authorities began to evacuate tourists from the island on Saturday, but the operation was interrupted by strong winds. The remaining tourists were transferred to hotels for free accommodation.

The water and power supply, and telecommunications at the hotels are unaffected. More than 130 emergency workers and a dozen police officers are caring for the tourists.

Fangji has called off all entertainment activities at sea and tightened inspections on dangerous areas.

Packing winds of 180 kilometers per hour at its center, Mujigae was moving northwest at about 20kph, the meteorological center said.

The typhoon is expected to lash both Guangdong and the resort island province of Hainan, where thousands of Chinese are currently spending the National Day holiday that runs through Wednesday. The typhoon is expected to weaken as it heads further inland over the next two days.

Scores of flights in and out of Hainan’s main airport have been canceled, while high-speed rail services were suspended Saturday and yesterday.

More than 60,000 fishing boats returned to port in the two provinces and more than 40,000 fishermen working on fish farms moved to shelters, according to the provincial government website.

Mujigae blew out of the northern Philippines early on Saturday, causing floods and a few landslides and leaving more than a dozen fishermen missing, said Mike Sabado, a spokesman for the regional Office of Civil Defense.

More than 150 fishermen had been reported missing at the height of the storm, mostly from the provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, but most sailed back home after taking shelter or were rescued.

A total of 30 fishermen remained unaccounted for as of yesterday, Sabado said.


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