HANGZHOU: A total of 1,477 tourists on an island in east China’s Zhejiang Province have been evacuated as Typhoon Matmo approaches, local authorities said.
The tourists on Nanji Island boarded 14 additional flights and have all left the island as of 2 p.m. Tuesday. Typhoon Matmo, the 10th typhoon affecting China this year, hit Taiwan late Tuesday night and is expected to make landfall in Fujian Province later on Wednesday. Nanji Island is a popular tourist destination in Wenzhou City of Zhejiang, all flight services to or from the island have been suspended due to the approaching typhoon.
Meanwhile, the death toll from super typhoon Rammasun had increased to 56 as of Wednesday morning, with another 20 missing, latest official figures show.
Rammasun is the strongest typhoon to hit south China in four decades, bringing gales, downpours and floods. It has affected more than 11 million people in the provinces of Guangdong, Hainan and Yunnan as well as Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said a statement from the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
While deaths in south China’s Hainan and Guangxi remained at 19 and 9 respectively, Yunnan reported ten more deaths in the 24 hours ending on 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, making a total of 28.
Over 862,000 people have been resettled and some 261,000 are in urgent need of basic necessities. The rain has destroyed 40,000 houses and 258,000 hectares of crops, the ministry said.
Combined direct economic losses in affected areas amount to 38.48 billion yuan (6.16 billion U.S. dollars). Economic losses in Guangxi increased from Tuesday’s 9.4 billion yuan to 13.5 billion yuan, the highest among the four regions. Despite zero deaths so far, Guangdong also suffered over 13 billion yuan in direct economic loss. Direct economic losses in Hainan stood at 10.9 billion yuan.
The typhoon made landfall on the main island of Luzon on Tuesday, where it destroyed or damaged more than 26,000 homes while cutting electricity supplies to nearly all of Manila and surrounding urban areas. The regional utility, Manila Electric Co., said about 11.5 percent of the capital, a megacity of more than 12 million people, remained without power Friday but promised to restore supplies to the entire city later in the day.
The Philippines is often the first major landmass to be struck after storms build above the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. Rammasun was the first typhoon to make landfall since this year’s rainy season began in June, and the first major storm since Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the eastern islands of Samar and Leyte last November.
Haiyan killed up to 7,300 people in one of the Philippines’ worst natural disasters. In China, the typhoon comes after dozens of people died in the past week when heavy rain battered swathes of the country, with at least six killed by lightning, thousands of homes destroyed and more than 300,000 evacuated, state media have reported. The rains have killed 10 people and left another 10 missing in the southwestern province of Guizhou, where 122,400 people were evacuated, Xinhua said, citing local authorities.
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