Nearly half a million people evacuated as tropical storm hits China | News | DW | 09.07.2016
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Nearly half a million people evacuated as tropical storm hits China

Typhoon Nepartak made landfall in China as a strong tropical storm. It had lashed Taiwan with powerful winds and torrential rains a day earlier.

Typhoon Nepartak hit the city of Shishi in Fujian province at 1:45 p.m. local time (0545 UTC) in the municipality of Quanzhou, with winds of up to 90 kilometers per hour (55 mph). More than 422,000 people had to be evacuated, according to China's official Xinhua news agency. It was, however, downgraded to a tropical storm.

Nearly 400 flights were canceled, while more than 300 trains were also canceled, Xinhua added. State broadcaster China Central Television said the storm also triggered waves 4 to 5 meters (13 to 16 feet) high. Ships and ferries were also halted and told to dock in harbors. The storm caused floods in parts of the country as well.

There were no reports of casualties in China; however, the typhoon had left two people dead and 72 injured in Taiwan earlier. More than 15,000 people had to flee their homes as well, as the strongest winds in over a century lashed part of the island.

Typhoons are considered to be common at this time of year in the South China Sea, as warm waters dissipating over land cause winds to pick up speed.

Typhoons used to be considered highly deadly events in China, but authorities now enforce rigid evacuation measures taking precautions well in advance, which have reduced the number of casualties.

ss/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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