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Typhoon Fitow hits China's south eastern coast causing deaths and damage

Heavy rains and powerful winds from Typhoon Fitow have led to the deaths of several people in southeast China. Damages are expected to cost the government hundreds of millions of yuan, according to Chinese media.

China state news media reported at least five deaths and four missing persons on Monday following the landfall of Typhoon Fitow, which inflicted heavy damages on the country's southeast coastline.

The storm pummelled Zhejiang and Fujian provinces with up to 20 centimeters of rain in some areas and wind gusts of up to 200 kilometers per hour (124 miles per hour) leading to power outages and the suspension of many transportation services in the region, according to the China News Service. The two southeast provinces run approximately from Shanghai to the coastline parallel to Taiwan.

Authorities evacuated some 786,000 people from Zhejiang province and at least 177,000 from Fujian to safety. Tens of thousands of boats were also called back to harbor across the region.

Wenzhou deaths

Most of the fatalities occurred in Zhejiang's city of Wenzhou, which lies roughly 480 kilometers (298 miles) south of Shanghai, according to Xinhua news agency.

State media said the typhoon had damaged hundreds of homes. There were also unconfirmed reports of 1,200 homes near Wenzhou collapsing during the storm.

China National Radio estimated damages at hundreds of millions of yuan. State media said clean up efforts would reach 2.28 billion yuan ($160 million), as reported by the news agency DPA.

Air, rail and bus services remained suspended as Typhoon Fitow - weakened since making landfall on Sunday - moved farther inland toward the northwest.

Fitow passed through Japan's southern Okinawa island chain prior to making landfall in China. On Monday, that same chain of islands was preparing for Typhoon Danas to hit, according to Japan Meteological Agency.

kms/jm (AFP, dpa)