Typhoon Fitow hits eastern China after mass evacuation

Chinese soldiers run as a storm surge hits Wenling, Zhejiang province. Photo: 6 October 2013

Chinese soldiers run as a storm surge hits Wenling, Zhejiang province. Photo: 6 October 2013

(BBC) Powerful Typhoon Fitow has made landfall in eastern China after triggering the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.

With winds up to 151km/h (93mph), the storm landed in Fujian province early on Monday, bringing heavy rains and causing widespread power cuts.

Some homes are said to have collapsed in neighbouring Zhejiang province and two port workers are missing.

The authorities earlier issued the highest alert – red – for the area.

Travel chaos

Typhoon Fitow – named after a flower – made landfall at 01:15 local time on Monday (17:15 GMT Sunday) in the city of Fuding, Chinese meteorologists said.

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They warned that some areas in Fujian and Zhejiang could see more than 200mm (8 in) of rain in the coming hours.

In Fujian, 177,000 people were evacuated before the storm hit the coast, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

In Zhejiang, some 574,000 people had to leave their homes.

Some 35,000 boats in Zhejiang and 30,000 in Fujian were ordered to return to harbour for shelter.

“We must not leave anybody in danger,” Zhejiang Governor Li Qiang was quoted as saying.

The typhoon also caused suspension of bullet trains and coach services in several cities in the area.

Dozens of flights to and from Wenzhou airport in Zhejiang were cancelled.

The storm is now moving north-west and is expected to weaken quickly.

It comes just weeks after Typhoon Usagi killed at least 25 people in southern Guangdong province.