25 killed as typhoon Usagi batters China

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Super typhoon Usagi killed at least 25 people after it pounded south China’s Guangdong province with torrential rain and winds that blew cars off the road, crippled power lines and threw transport systems into chaos.

Typhoon Usagi — which meteorologists say was the world’s most powerful storm this year — hit Guangdong province northeast of Hong Kong Sunday with torrential rain and winds of up to 165 km per hour, prompting the highest level of alert from the National Meteorological Centre.

At least 25 people were killed in the province, officials said Monday. Thirteen deaths were reported in Shanwei city, where 24 others were injured in accidents during the storm.

Schools and air, railway and shipping traffic remained suspended Monday in 14 cities in Guangdong, including the provincial capital of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai, as well as neighbouring Hong Kong and Macao.

Usagi — Japanese for rabbit — was designated a super typhoon on Saturday after it passed through the Philippines and Taiwan, moving toward China’s mainland.

Although its power weakened Sunday, the storm’s winds still reached a speed of 45 metre per second at its eye upon landfall in Shanwei at 7.40 pm on Sunday.

Usagi has devastated the eastern part of Guangdong, with trees blown down and water and electricity supply cut off in several counties in Shanwei, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

As the rain stopped Monday, local residents were mobilised to help clean up debris and branches on roads to ease traffic.

The provincial flood control headquarters said the typhoon has caused sea water encroachment in coastal areas, river overflow and landslides in rural regions.

The National Disaster Reduction Commission and the ministry of civil affairs dispatched expert teams to typhoon-hit regions to help disaster relief work. The local disaster relief office has also dispatched work teams to affected areas.

According to the local civil affairs bureau, more than 3.56 million people in Guangdong have been affected by Usagi and 2.26 lakh people have been relocated.

The typhoon has also caused 7,100 homes to collapse and resulted in direct economic losses of 3.24 billion yuan ($529.5 million).

Before the typhoon made landfall, Guangdong called more than 47,647 fishing boats to harbour, and more than 19,670 residents were taken to temporary shelters.

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