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Typhoon Matsa Batters East China

Typhoon Matsa has been wrecking havoc in east China after its landing at Zhejiang Province early Saturday morning.

In Shanghai, all the flights have been suspended due to strong wind and airports in the city said they would monitor the movement of Matsa closely to make further decisions.


A work shed collapsed in the rainstorms, leaving one worker dead and two injured at a construction site in Shanghai.


Matsa, named after a Laotian fish, has been dumping torrential rain, swelling rivers and flooding the low-lying areas in Zhejiang, the provincial meteorological observatory said.


The coastal areas of Zhejiang have been slashed by torrential rain with winds up to 126 kph before and after the typhoon landing.


The reservoirs and rivers in Taizhou, a city in Zhejiang, reported sharp water rise, and some areas along the coast reported water levels above the alarming lines, the provincial observatory said.


In Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, the street billboards have been either strengthened or temporarily picked off. All the construction sites have suspended operation. Residents living in the low-lying areas have been evacuated.


Local residents have been warned to keep away from the Qiantang River as the typhoon could cause tidal waves in Hangzhou Bay.


Matsa's fringe also slashed Jiangsu Province, bringing rainstorms to cities including Suzhou, Nanjing, Wuxi and Nantong.


Landing of the typhoon occurred at Ganjiang Township in Yuhuan County in Zhejiang at 3:40 AM Saturday.  


More than 1.24 million people were evacuated to safety on Friday in Zhejiang Province.

About 36,000 boats have returned to harbor.

Local authorities have been urged to lower water levels in reservoirs to prevent floods, said Wang Shucheng, minister of water resources and a top official of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.


The typhoon is expected to bring about massive rains and cause heavy floods, he said.


Because many dams of reservoirs have been soaked in recent downpours, he called on local officials to prepare for emergencies.


In Hangzhou, officials issued an emergency warning, saying Matsa could be stronger than Typhoon Rananim, which caused 164 deaths and damages totaling 18.1 billion yuan (US$2.23 billion) last year.


Ningbo Port, the country's second largest in terms of handling capacity, was closed on Friday, said Zhang Yiyao, a spokesman with the port.


Bus services between the coastal city of Taizhou and Hangzhou have also been suspended.

Hangzhou residents rushed to supermarkets to buy candles, flashlights and bottled water.


Tang Xin, a retired worker, said: "It is always better to prepare for the worst, so if there are blackouts and no water supply, we can survive."


Matsa dumped torrential rains in northern Taiwan earlier on Friday, shutting down financial markets and grounding several international flights.


Matsa's fringe brought heavy rains to northern Taiwan, swelling rivers and flooding low-lying areas, the island's central weather bureau said.


In northern Hsinchu, 1,118 millimeters of rain fell over the past 24 hours, the bureau said on its website.


Rock slides damaged roads and bridges in some mountainous areas, leaving villagers isolated.


Financial markets, government offices, and many stores in northern Taiwan closed on Friday.







(Xinhua News Agency , China Daily August 6, 2005)











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