Five Killed, 28 Missing in Taiwan

Typhoon Chebi moved away from Taiwan and pounded the mainland on Sunday after it left five people dead and 28 missing on and around the island, officials said.

Weather officials said the typhoon, the second such weather front this year, had landed on the mainland, but was losing its momentum.

They said the typhoon at 08:00 am was centered in the southern part of the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, about 260 kilometers (156 miles) north of Taiwan's Matsu Island.

An official with the Central Weather Bureau said Chebi was moving north-northeast at an hourly speed of 37 kilometers (22 miles).

Weathermen asked the public in central and southern Taiwan to heighten their vigilance against landslides and floods caused by torrential rains.

But the typhoon had already left a trail of victims and damaged property.

The National Fire Administration said a man drowned while fishing outside Keelung City in the north of Taiwan.

Another man was killed after he fell from the second floor of his two-storey building on the tiny Chime Island in the Taiwan Strait.

A third man was killed when a rubber boat with six people on board overturned in the southeastern Taitung county. Five people were rescued.

Rescue officials confirmed two people reported missing Sunday morning off the Matsu Island were dead.

And coast guard boats on Sunday made a fresh search of waters off the southern Tainan city, where a Belize-registered cargo ship with 22 crew on board sank after it lost power amid strong winds and waves Saturday afternoon. All the crew were missing.

The coast guard found three life buoys and a large oil stain near the area.

"We were afraid the crew were dead," a coast guard official said.

On Friday, a Taiwan fishing boat with six crew sank in Philippine territorial water.

Chebi also left 115 people injured, 12 of them seriously.

Meanwhile, off the Penghu Islands which bore the brunt of the typhoon, 102 fishing boats and four leisure boats sank.

Strong winds and torrential rains also crippled ground and air traffic in southern Taiwan.

As of Sunday morning, tens of thousands of households in southern Taiwan and on the Penghu Islands were without power and telephone communications.

The Council of Agriculture put the value of the estimated agricultural damages at around 136 million Taiwan dollars (US$3.95 million) -- mostly from the southern Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties and Penghu Islands.

Tropical storm Cimaro hit the island last month but left no major causulties or damage.

(China Daily 06/24/2001)

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