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Thousands move from storm path

A TOTAL of 751,600 people have been evacuated across southeast China in the path of Fung Wong, the eighth tropical storm to hit the country this year.

Four people have died in east China's Jiangsu Province, and one is dead and four missing in the southern Guangdong Province.

A tornado whirled through Linze Town in north Jiangsu about 3pm yesterday, destroying a clothing factory in Yangcha village and injuring more than 90 people. Four died later in hospital, said a local government spokesman.

The storm also triggered a flash flood in Heyuan City, Guangdong.

Five timber workers were washed away. One was confirmed dead and four others were still missing, a city spokesman said yesterday.

People have been moved from their homes in Fujian, Zhejiang and Guangdong Provinces, the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said yesterday.

The storm, downgraded from a typhoon, had affected the livelihoods of 3.86 million people in Zhejiang and Fujian, flooded 112,000 hectares of farmland and destroyed more than 1,500 houses.

The eye of the storm has moved to eastern Jiangxi Province with winds up to 61.2 kilometers per hour, down from 119 kilometers per hour when it landed in Fujian late on Monday, according to a forecast at 5pm yesterday.

The possibility of further flooding remained as Fung Wong, the Cantonese for phoenix, was likely to cause more heavy rains in the east of the country, the office warned.

"We have ordered local governments to take measures against possible floods in mountain areas and cities," said Cheng Dianlong, vice director of the office.

The tropical storm would move northeast into Anhui and Shandong provinces, bringing with it intensive rainfall, the provincial weather observatories predicted.

All shipping has been halted in Jiangxi Province, and Qingdao city, a co-host of the Olympics, has asked travel agencies to cancel tours to avoid the storm.

The impact of Fung Wong was also felt in the Yangtze River Estuary, where more than 170 ships sheltered safely in ports near Shanghai in strong winds.


 

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