Fujian and Zhejiang provinces in east China evacuated about 230,000 people from low-lying coastal regions, as typhoon Sinlaku is approaching, after it pounded Taiwan early Sunday morning.
In Zhejiang alone, nearly 200,000 residents have been evacuated and 30,000 fishing boats have been recalled to harbor, according to the provincial headquarters for flood control.
The approaching of Sinlaku has led to winds of up to 126 km per hour off the coast of Zhejiang and brought about downpours in some areas.
"We must do the utmost to minimize the losses...and guard against flash floods and landslides," said Zhao Hongzhu, secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.
The flood control headquarters in Zhejiang warned that Sinlaku could cause serious geological disasters on its possible course through Ningbo, Taizhou and Wenzhou cities as well as the Zhoushan Islands.
Local authorities in the province have also urged all coastal scenic spots to shut down business, and persuade tourists to stay in safe places or return home.
Sinlaku is the 13th tropical storm to hit the Chinese mainland this year. It landed at Taiwan's Yilan County early Sunday morning.
The eye of the typhoon was reported to be about 305 km to the southeast of Wenzhou in southeastern Zhejiang at 6 p.m. on Sunday, according to the local weather authorities, and it was moving northwestward to the area at a speed of 10 km per hour.
The observatory in Fujian gave yellow alert, or the second-degree disaster weather warning, to the storm on Sunday, forecasting winds close to hurricane force and heavy rains in the sea area of the Taiwan Straits from Sunday to Monday.
"The typhoon is moving to northern Fujian and Wenzhou. But it's still hard to predict whether it will make a landfall on the mainland or the specific location it will land at," said Chen Hui, vice mayor of Fuding in northern Fujian.
"Yet it will cause losses to the city even if the typhoon doesn't land at Fuding," he said, adding that all public servants in the city have been ordered to cancel their three-day Moon Festival holiday to prepare for combating the typhoon.
Few people were seen walking on the streets of Fuding's Shacheng Township Sunday afternoon and almost all shops had closed. Latest developments about Sinlaku could be heard via loudspeakers incessantly.
"I'll go nowhere tonight. Just stay at home. I have bad memories about typhoons," local resident Yao Rihua, while putting up reinforcement panels on his doors and windows.
(Xinhhua News Agency September 14, 2008)