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Death Toll from Typhoon Saomai Rises to 441
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The death toll in China from typhoon Saomai rose to 441 on Saturday after the discovery of five more bodies in Fuding city in the southeastern coastal province of Fujian.

One of the body was recovered in a ship that was salvaged from the seawaters off Shacheng harbor on Saturday afternoon, Vice Mayor of Fuding Chen Yuyin said.

Rescuers have so far retrieved four vessels in Fuding, and the local government has appealed to the Fujian provincial government and central authorities to assist with salvage operations.

Salvage ships from the Shanghai wrecking bureau will arrive in Fuding within days, which will make it possible to retrieve four or five sunken vessels every day, the vice mayor said.

The typhoon has sunk 952 ships and damaged 1,594 others at Shacheng harbor, according to Fujian provincial headquarters of flood control and drought relief.

Saomai, the eighth typhoon to strike China this year, slammed into Cangnan County of Zhejiang Province at 5:25 PM August 10 and moved to Fuding a few hours later.

It has claimed 246 lives in Fujian, 193 in Zhejiang and two in Jiangxi.

More than 16.9 million yuan (US$2.11 million) of money have been distributed for relief to typhoon victims in Fuding, officials with the local bureau of civil affairs said Saturday evening.

Daily necessities including instant noodles, bottled water, rice, quilts, and biscuits have also been distributed to the victims.

All the injured are treated by local hospitals for free and the local government has distributed 78,700 yuan (US$10,000) worth of drugs to people affected by the typhoon, officials said.

Fuding has so far received more than 15 million yuan (US$1.9 million) of donations, officials said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2006)

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