1.3 mn evacuated as Muifa brushes past China (Second Lead)

August 9th, 2011 - 12:00 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 8 (IANS) More than 1.3 million people were evacuated as the tropical storm Muifa brushed past China’s eastern coast, Xinhua reported Monday.

Muifa, after crossing China, made a landfall on the northwestern coast of North Korea around 6.30 p.m. Monday, a spokesman with the Water Resources Department of Liaoning province said.

Since Thursday, rains and winds battered Liaoning, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong regions of China, the National Disaster Reduction Committee said in a statement.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, the storm toppled more than 600 houses and damaged 4,800 others, causing direct economic loss of about 3.1 billion yuan ($480 million).

Muifa swirled into the East China Sea Friday morning and weakened to a tropical storm Sunday.

About 490,000 people were evacuated in the worst-affected provinces of Liaoning and Shandong.

In the southern part of Liaoning, about 130,000 people were evacuated and 39,000 fishing boats were called back to harbour.

The city of Dandong in Liaoning has set up over 750 temporary shelters that are capable of accommodating over one million people, according to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.

Over 360,000 people were evacuated in Shandong, with no casualties reported in the province.

According to the provincial meteorological observatory, the storm has unleashed torrential rains in the coastal areas, soaking as many as 85 counties and villages with precipitation levels of 50 to 100 mm.

From Saturday to Monday morning, over 60 flights were cancelled in the harbour city of Qingdao in Shandong, local authorities said.

Since Monday night, the storm has begun affecting Jilin province, which neighbours Liaoning. The provincial meteorological authorities predicted heavy downpours and gales in Ji’an City in Jilin from Monday night to Tuesday.

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