Typhoon Morakot weakens, leaves trail of destruction in China

August 10th, 2009 - 2:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Fuzhou, Aug 10 (Xinhua) Typhoon Morakot, which hit east China Sunday, weakened to become a tropical storm early Monday, leaving behind a trail of destruction, authorities said.
The Zhejiang Meteorological Station announced Monday that Morakot, the eighth and the strongest typhoon in China this year, was slowing and weakening as it moved towards northwest, bringing heavy rain to northern Zhejiang.

In Xiapu, where the typhoon hit land, at least 136,000 people suffered property losses from flooding and landslides. Morakot packed winds up to 118 km per hour on its arrival.

Zhang Changjian, deputy county head and director of the county’s flood control and drought relief headquarters, said the county’s agriculture and fishery industries had been severely battered, with direct losses estimated at 200 million yuan ($29 million).

He said 14 township were flooded, and eight roads were blocked by floods and landslides.

More than 48,000 vessels were recalled to port in Fujian, where 505,000 people were evacuated from their homes as authorities raised the typhoon alarm to a red alert, its highest level, Sunday.

Wenzhou City, in Zhejiang, reported the first death in the typhoon Sunday after three adults and a 4-year-old boy were buried when the torrential rain brought five houses down. The boy later died, according to the city’s flood-control headquarters.

In Zhejiang, more than 3.4 million people suffered property losses as hundreds of villages were flooded and more than 1,800 houses collapsed.

The National Meteorological Centre said violent rainstorms would continue in south Jiangsu, southeast Anhui, northeast Jiangxi, Shanghai, most parts of Zhejiang and Fujian, and Taiwan over Monday.

The centre also warned of possible flooding near Taihu Lake, Jiangsu Province, as downpours reached 100 to 130 mm.

Meanwhile, Morakot also caused losses in Taiwan.

According to the island’s disaster response centre, Morakot killed 12 people and injured 52, while 32 were still missing as of Monday.

Taiwan’s meteorological department lifted the typhoon alert at 10 a.m., but continued to forecast rainstorms in the area south of Miaoli County.

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