As the threat from typhoon Haitang abated after killing thirteen people in Zhejiang and Taiwan provinces this week, the issue of sheltering from it was replaced by dealing with the resulting floods, preventing disease and repairing damage.
Some of the 863,000 people in the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian who had fled began to return home yesterday after the much quietened typhoon moved into neighboring Jiangxi Province.
Two emergency teams arrived in Wenzhou and Lishui, two of the worst-hit areas, to combat disease, according to officials from Zhejiang Provincial Bureau of Public Health.
"The floods brought by the heavy rain make disease prevention in its aftermath extremely important," said Yan Dehua, director of the bureau's Emergency Division, and tons of bleach and disinfectant had been delivered to local residents.
Necessities including more than 16,000 boxes of biscuits and instant noodles, 750 tons of cooking oil and 7,300 tons of rice were also sent to Wenzhou and Taizhou, according to reports from local civil affairs bureaus.
Haitang was considerably weaker when it pounded the mainland on Tuesday than when it battered Taiwan the day before, but it had still killed three in Zhejiang by yesterday.
In Fujian, 21 were injured and direct economic losses of 2.63 billion yuan (US$317.6 million) caused, including damage to 17,700 houses, the province's disaster relief authorities said.
In Zhejiang, the bill for the damage had reached at least 5.46 billion yuan (US$657.8 million) yesterday. Officials said casualty figures were still being calculated, but that 5,710 homes were destroyed, 183,220 hectares of farmland ruined, 62,769 factories shut and 447 highways cut off.
About 700 people in the town of Shuitou in Wenzhou were still trapped in their homes yesterday afternoon, and rescue operations continued into the night, according to officials from the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.
Although most were not in imminent danger, the main concern was that flooding made the delivery of vital provisions difficult, according to Yao Yuewei, a senior officer in charge of local flood control and drought relief.
Teams of technicians are trying to restore Wenzhou's power and communications, and power is expected to be back to normal by tomorrow, a local utility spokesperson said.
Yao said threats to public safety in the devastated areas still existed. "In the coming days special attention should be paid to floods, landslides, rock falls and rising water levels," he said.
As other provinces were focusing on clean-up operations, Jiangxi has been dealing with Haitang's remnants.
Heavy rain and strong winds have swept 35 of its counties since Tuesday, although officials said no transport has been cancelled or delayed in Nanchang, the provincial capital, which has 160 scheduled services linking it with cities within and outside Jiangxi.
The provincial weather bureau's forecast says heavy rain is expected to continue until as late as Saturday.
(China Daily July 21, 2005)